“I hate the smell of cigarettes now, to me it’s disgusting”. This is how proud quitter and long term Hackney resident Sarah Pluck feels after 10 months of going smoke-free. Sarah stopped smoking when she discovered she was pregnant with her second child Dean, and hasn’t looked back since.
“I’m determined that I’m going to stay smoke free now,” said Sarah. “Once I’ve made it to a year I’m having a party”.
30 year old Sarah started smoking whilst at primary school because “I wanted to be rebellious” and the habit gradually escalated as she got older. “I used to sneak a cigarette from my dad’s packet and go to the park to smoke it,” she explained.
Sarah has quit smoking before, when she found out she was pregnant with her first child Louise, who is now 4. However, she found it difficult to remain smoke-free as she was living with smokers at the time and experiencing symptoms of post-natal depression.
Sarah was supported by Carolyn Bovelle, a specialist stop smoking midwife from the Homerton who runs a stop smoking clinic every Friday morning at Daubeney Children’s Centre on Daubeney Road throughout both pregnancies.
Together Sarah and Carolyn came up with a quit plan and found the best medication and techniques for Sarah to use to fight the nicotine cravings.
Sarah found that changing her routine was one of the strongest factors in her successful quit attempt. “Before, I would have a cigarette within a few minutes of opening my eyes in the morning and then smoke between 20 and 25 a day. I swapped my morning cigarette for a nicotine patch and then by the time I’d dressed and had breakfast I’d already made it through an hour without a cigarette”. She also knows how important it was for her to stick to that new routine.
Sarah also found the support of friends and family was really important to her throughout her quit journey.
Sarah still has smokers around her, like her dad, but makes sure she always asks him to not smoke near her.
Sarah is enjoying a happier, healthier life without cigarettes, and has also noticed significant benefits to her bank balance. “I’ve got a jar on my bedside table and I’ve put in the money I would have spent on cigarettes each day. I’ve now got around £1000 saved up and we’re going to use it to take the kids on holiday over the summer.”
Sarah’s advice to anyone who is trying to quit is that changing your routine is key.
Quitting can make improvements to your lifestyle and health in ways you might not expect.