Hackney resident Ermira Alishani stopped smoking in January 2015 following more than 20 years of being a smoker. She had tried to stop smoking three or four times in the past, but always started again.

“I didn’t think that I was strong enough to stay off the cigarettes. I didn’t believe in myself enough” she said. This time though is different. “Now I really believe that I can do it. I am ready to stop.”

Ermira started smoking when she was 16. “When you are young you think you can do anything. You don’t think about the long term or about your health” she said.

It’s affected my skin, the smell of it is disgusting and it also affects your whole outlook on life. For example, in the morning, the first thing I would do is have a cigarette. It made me lazy. Now, I think ‘what can I do today?’ I’m much more active and feeling more positive.

The 39 year-old mother of three decided to quit again at the end of last year. Her physical health had started to suffer as a result of smoking but she was also aware of other negative consequences of smoking. 

Her first step on her quit journey was to ask her GP for help, who referred her to her local stop smoking service in Hackney. She had a positive first impression of the service. “It was a very good experience. Ela, the manager, was very polite, very enthusiastic. It made me feel I could trust the service.” 

She was given nicotine patches and gum which have helped with cravings, and she is having weekly one-to-one sessions with a stop smoking adviser. 

“I have learned a lot about the effects of tobacco on the body, and the sessions with the stop smoking adviser have helped me to stay motivated. It’s great to see the improvement on the breath reader, my breathing is now almost the same as a non-smoker which is fantastic.”

Two months into her quit attempt, Ermira is determined that she will stay off cigarettes for good. “Stopping smoking changes everything. I believe you have to care for yourself before you can really care for others. Now I am caring for myself by stopping smoking, I have much more energy and time for my home and my family.”

Quitting can make improvements to your lifestyle and health in ways you might not expect.

Smoking and your health›

Thinking about the reasons to quit is a great way to motivate yourself.

Why quit?›

Medications and nicotine replacement can double the chances of quitting smoking.

How to quit›