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Dublin: 12°C Sunday 9 May 2021

'The best thing about being smoke-free is feeling more energetic' - one man's journey to quitting for good

Mark quit smoking after six years, and he’s never looked back.

MARK RICHARDSON DECIDED to quit smoking after a very short cycle left him in a fit of coughing.

Source: Michael PG via Flickr/CC

The 24-year-old farmer had been smoking since he was 18 but the coughing fit gave him motivation to quit cigarettes once and for all.

I went out on a short cycle, and I’m not as fit as I used to be anyway, but I remember going on the same cycle as a kid and just flying up and down. I wasn’t even able to make it halfway without a coughing fit. It was the first time I realised it was credited to smoking.

Mark had tried quitting before, multiple times, but had only ever got to three days or so before going back on the cigarettes.

Before, you’d get through three days and something might happen and you’d go to the shops and get a new box.

Quitting for good

This time Mark was determined and he turned to the QUIT.ie website for help with quitting. He found that with help from his girlfriend, friends and the support of the website, he was able to keep up the momentum.

The email each morning from QUIT.ie is a helpful reminder that I’m doing well and most importantly, helps me remember – I didn’t smoke yesterday, why would I need to smoke today?

Euro bills Source: reynermedia via Flickr/CC

There were a number of factors that influenced Mark’s decision to quit including the long-term financial benefits. The email reminders from QUIT.ie every morning telling him how long he’d been off cigarettes for and how much he’d saved was a great incentive not to go back on them.
Even just showing you what sort of savings you’re making – in the last 6 weeks I’ve saved about €300-400 already.

What are the benefits of quitting?

In the six weeks since Mark has quit smoking, he’s noticed an improvement in his breathing and general energy levels.

I do feel better, I have more energy, definitely. I do feel I’m not as drained and I’m not coughing as much during the day, even while exercising.

He’s exercising more than he used to before and finds exercise a great help in dealing with the cravings – distracting him from them for up to an hour at a time. And the savings haven’t hurt, either.

What made the difference this time?

3221986177_8e8f395a06_z To help with cravings, take a sip of water Source: [cipher] via Flickr/CC

This time it was a bit easier because my friends, even the smokers, were very supportive, and even if you ask for a cigarette now, they wouldn’t give you one.

Using the tips on Quit.ie helped a lot too – from the four D’s (distract yourself, delay the cravings, taking a deep breath, and drink water), to calling the QUIT helpline and chatting with the support team there. Mark found that the QUIT team helped him to analyse his smoking triggers and put practices in place to break those habits.

I spoke to them one day. They were helpful in how to deal with cravings, like to take deep breaths, drink water. They asked me when was I most likely to smoke, and for me it was in the morning, in the afternoon, and with friends.
So I tried to change my routine in the morning… to try something different. I work from home, so I changed what I did first thing in the morning to change the habit.

Mark found telling his friends that ‘this is it, I’m definitely quitting this time’ also made a huge difference.

Little victories

shutterstock_300375719 Source: Shutterstock/Evdokimov Maxim

The best way to tackle quitting is day by day; remembering that you managed not to smoke the day before is a great incentive not to smoke today. Additionally it helps to count up all the little victories that you achieve over the day – from distracting yourself from a craving to saying no to the offer of a cigarette, especially when you’re going through a hard day.
Every time you resist asking a friend for one, or resist going into the shop to buy a pack after a hard day is a little victory.

Everything added up…

Source: willjackson.eu via Flickr/CC

Mark stresses that it wasn’t one bolt of inspiration or determination that kept him off the cigarettes, rather a combination of tips and support that helped him to keep going, even when things are hard.

It is all helpful. When they’re telling you the tips you think, ‘Oh I know that already’ but when you’re dealing with a craving you do think ‘Oh this helped me or that helped me’. Even having chewing gum in your pocket is handy. If you’re thinking about having a cigarette, have some chewing gum instead.

Do you have any tips for quitting smoking? Let us know in the comments below.

One in two smokers will die of a tobacco-related illness. If you want to quit smoking, we can help. Here at QUIT, we have found that getting the right help and support will double your chances of success.  The QUIT Team are standing by, ready to help you. Talk to the QUIT team:

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