Lorraine had her last cigarette on 14 March 2011 and has been proud to be a quitter ever since. “I don’t miss it”, she said, “I see people smoking and it sounds terrible but I just feel sad for them”.
Born in Liverpool and brought up in Birmingham, Lorraine was never tempted to smoke at school although lots of friends were smokers. “I used to look at them practising so they could do it properly and I just thought it was funny!” said Lorraine.
Lorraine moved to London, to Camden initially, with her partner and young children when she was in her twenties. She worked as an artist and clothes designer and she made and sold clothes in Camden Market. It was here that the thought of smoking began to have some allure.
Smoking was very popular and it was just around me everywhere so I started thinking about it more
It was a little later that Lorraine tried her first cigarette. Her first memory of smoking is whilst on holiday with her children in France.
Lorraine moved to Hackney in the 1980s and continued smoking socially. After her children left home she gradually transitioned into being a 20 per day smoker. She has attempted to quit once before, at a group clinic, but found that this setting was not quite right for her.
About a year later, a conversation with her daughter prompted Lorraine to attempt to quit again. “I used to look after my grandson two days a week and I wouldn’t smoke when I was with him, but when I dropped him off at my daughter’s house she would tell me she could still smell smoke on me. The smell of smoke was just engrained in me and I realised that it was really quite serious. I didn’t want to be subjecting my children and grandchildren to this”.
Lorraine spoke to a stop smoking advisor at a stall in Kingsland Shopping Centre in Dalston and signed up to join the service immediately.
Lorraine also benefitted from the motivational tools she picked up in sessions. “I had a calendar showing the days I had been smoke free and at the end of each day without a cigarette, I would tick another one off. That really helped me to stay motivated and I could see how far I had come. I also counted how much money I had saved at the end of each day without a cigarette and that made me realise how much money I had been throwing away over the years.”
Since giving up smoking, Lorraine has noticed a difference in both her health and her bank balance.
Lorraine has also made other lifestyle changes since giving up smoking. “I started walking more to keep myself busy and I really enjoyed that, so now I’m exercising regularly. I also started eating more healthily. As I’ve got older, I‘ve realised that I want to live as long as possible, and I also want my older years to be healthy ones so it’s important to be looking after myself now”.
Lorraine feels that the key to her success in giving up smoking was her mindset. “I was just determined not to smoke. As a smoker I felt terrible, why would I want to keep putting myself through that?”
Her advice to anyone who is finding it difficult to kick the habit is:
Quitting can make improvements to your lifestyle and health in ways you might not expect.