With willpower you can kick the 20 a day habit


One couple found that with willpower you can do anything and managed to kick the 20 a day habit.

Claire and Shaun’s story

Shaun and Claire Steadman had both smoked from a young age and continued this into their adult lives. It was the encouragement of their first child and pregnancy with their second that led them to inquire at the hospital about the help available for people who were interested in stopping smoking.

Claire explains, “Both myself and Shaun smoked between 15-20 cigarettes a day. It was part of our daily routine and had been for so long that we couldn’t imagine not doing it. However, as our son grew up he started to ask us why we smoked when so many people said that it was bad for you and we asked ourselves the same question. We then found out that I was to have a second child and so we took the opportunity while I was at the hospital having a check-up, to call in at the stop smoking clinic and see what help they could offer us.

“The hospital referred us to the stop smoking service – and that’s when we met our advisor from the service. Our advisor was brilliant – she explained exactly the type of help that was available to both of us, laid out the health benefits of stopping smoking and helped us to create a plan that would enable us to do so, as a family. Our advisor also explained the benefits that stopping smoking would have for me as an expectant mother and my baby, using a carbon monoxide test to highlight these and this definitely boosted my motivation for stopping.

“Myself and Shaun haven’t looked back since we stopped smoking! We attended sessions at the quit shop and our advisor even came to visit us at home when I could no longer leave the house due to health problems, to continue with the support.

“We were given all the information we needed, the motivation to keep with our quit attempt and advice about nicotine replacement therapies that we could try.

“I’ve used nicotine sticks (inhalators) and patches to help me quit. However, you can’t rely on these alone, as you also need to train yourself out of the routine of having a cigarette. Usually, I would always have one after a cup of coffee or after tea. So I consciously made an effort to do something else at these times, to keep my hands busy, and therefore remove the temptation of falling back into my old routine.

“We have supported each other through the stages of quitting smoking and that, along with our families support, is what has helped us to stop smoking. We’ve been able to laugh through the difficult times and now we see our future without cigarettes.

“One of the immediate benefits of giving up smoking is the money we’ve saved – it’s amazing to realise how much was spent on cigarettes- and now we are putting the money we’re saving into a special fund that will go towards a family holiday! You also notice improvements in your health really quickly and I really noticed a difference between my first pregnancy when I was smoking and my second when I was not. I think not smoking has definitely had a positive impact on my second son, who seems a more content and relaxed baby.”

Shaun explained, “My advice to anyone who would like to give up smoking would be that, with the support of your family, willpower and the support of the NHS stop smoking services, quitting is not as hard as people make out – anyone can do it! You just have to be motivated to make this positive change in your life.”

Claire continued, “A future without smoking is what we want and I’m really looking forward to continuing to experience the benefits that quitting will bring to our family.”