Support from my colleagues got me through the hard times.
Russ, 30, Kent
Russ, 30, a recovery worker from Kent, started smoking at the age of 14 due to peer pressure. It’s a common story but last year, he decided that he wanted to become healthier in preparation for starting a family, so he took the leap and signed up for a work based stop smoking group and has been successfully smoke free for over a year now.
Russ began occasional smoking with his friends when he was 14 but had slowly built up to a habit of 15 roll ups a day.
Russ had spotted an opportunity at work to enroll on to a group course for stop smoking, which offers employees the chance to take part in the group during working hours, as an incentive to quit. The group of six supported each other to quit and the colleagues became good friends.
Russ had already tried to quit on three separate occasions, once with his partner but he found it was too stressful. Russ had also tried using an e-cigarette, but found that whenever the battery ran out or something went wrong, it was too easy to switch back to tobacco. He was looking for a alternative way to quit and the work group proved to be the perfect choice.
Russ found that the biggest challenge was not being able to smoke after having a meal or smoking in the car on the way home from work, as these were his habitual smoking times. He found the easiest way to cope with these was to completely change his habits, so that he was no longer a part of the ‘smoking world’. He also used self-talk to reinforce the message that he didn’t need to smoke.
Russ describes the best thing about being smoke free is not being locked into a habit anymore and not causing damage to his health.
His advice for smokers is to keep trying and attempt all the options available to you and start breaking the regular smoking habits even before quitting, such as smoking in the car or smoking after meals, as they are the most challenging situations to overcome.