Showing posts with label smoking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label smoking. Show all posts

21 March 2019

Stopping Smoking - Can It Change You As a Person?

Just a little musing on the blog today and a question:  Has anyone experienced a real change in their personality, mental health or general mental wellbeing since they stopping smoking cigarettes?

Image by roegger from Pixabay
First and foremost, let me say that I am not one of those irritating ex smokers who suddenly think that cigarettes are the plague of the earth and shout loudly and regularly from the rooftops of how disgusting smoking is.

I MISS IT.  I miss it so much.  I miss the after dinner cigarette, I miss the pleasurable addition of smoking when having a glass of wine or a cocktail; I miss the temporary calmness they would give me if I was having a bad day.  I miss them.

As a smoker you are well used to all the people that would wax lyrical about how bad it was for your health and how much money it must be costing you etc.  You would feel like wanted to stab them in the eye?  I still feel like that.  Sanctimonious ex smokers can take a hike.

Anyway.  Back to topic.  Physical health and money benefits aside, can't say I have really noticed either yet, I have to say that my mental health and wellbeing has definately changed.

For as long as I can remember, probably my whole adult life, I have had a numbing or  muting of emotions.  General the positive emotions.  Sadness, pain and anxiety I never had a problem with.  How typical. 

Feelings of anticipation, excitement, joy, happiness, feelings of just being damn normal, were just not really there.  I said the words and played out the emotions for people, but I never felt them.  I knew what they felt like because I used to experience them, but hadn't in many many years.

Not feeling, felt normal.  All the bright colours of emotions just did not live within me, except the black that occasionally would overtake me.  Everything was just muted.

Image by Alexandra Haynak from Pixabay

The only reason that I knew that I was not "normal", if anyone ever really is, is that on the occasional day, I felt everything.  It felt wonderful.  I would just wake up one day and experience a full day of normal feelings.  The world became exciting and full of wonderment.  Sadly, the next day, I went back to normal, my normal.

Not to tempt fate here (please fate, I'll be good I promise), but after around four weeks of not smoking, all of these feelings have come back.  I feel genuine happiness.  I feel excited when plans are made.  I feel anticipation when something good and new is about to happen.  I feel.   I feel everything.

Is this an effect of stopping smoking?  It would a be a very large coincidence if it was not related. 

My question I guess is very specific as I do not know anyone else who lived with the muting of emotions that I did.  I am sure that there is a name for it but I do not know what it is.

Whatever the reason, the world is full of colour again.  I look forward to each day, whatever it may hold and there is always now, some happiness to be found.  Even in the smallest corner.

30 January 2019

Gone In a Puff of Smoke

Everything has its own time.  That is something I truly believe.

I am never one to be pushed into anything and for me to make a big change in my life, the planets usually have to align perfectly with a touch of magic in the air, or the change will not stick.  When I make that jump though, the right jump, I never look back.

The last time I did this, I completed changed the person that I am.  I went from a very shy, under confident girl who never voiced her own opinion and wore black 24/7 to the person I am today.  Still shy, but unafraid to say what I think, a wardrobe full of colour and a smile on my face.

The very first photograph of me after ditching my all black wardrobe
A few weeks ago I wrote about why I never make New Years Resolutions. Mostly because I do not like to be forced into anything, even by myself.  Changes in my life have to be organic.

So, on the 7th January, the planets aligned and I decided that this was the day I was going to stop smoking.  There were a number of factors that made my decision for me.  The fact that my 40th birthday is looming and I was determined not to be a smoker by then.  The cost.  That I was the remaining smoker in my friend group.  My health.

Today, 23 days later and I have not smoked a cigarette since.  The first week was not easy.  I decided to stop smoking using the cold turkey method as I did not want to use aids or patches and draw out the process.  This works for me, I know using patches etc works brilliantly for others.

Something has changed in me this time though.  An internal flick of a switch.  I know that I won't start smoking again.  A certainty that I can feel.  I cannot explain it.

I have stopped smoking before, for 2 years in fact and started again due to stress.   I then stopped last year for a month, only to be lured back in again after a night out.  Each time I stopped, I knew that I was not done with cigarettes.  This time, I think that the end has come.

I will keep you posted!

Want to check out some more blogs?  Check out Chilling with Lucas which is a fantastic family blog.

16 March 2017

Gone in a Puff of Smoke

I turned 38 last week.  Although I have luckily inherited my mum's genes and tend to look younger than I am (except first thing in the morning when I look 70 haha), I am more conscious as I get older than I need to take better care of my skin and my health.

The grey hairs that start to appear, quickly vanished by the hair dye.  That wrinkle under your eye that appeared overnight that you pray will disappear when you wake up properly.  Not having as much energy.  Slowly and surely, they all start to come into play.  The sands of time never stop moving.

There are of course ways that you can role back some of those effects.  One of them is taking better care of your skin, not relying on face wipes (I know, I know) and pale soap and water instead of a regular cleanse, tone and moisturiser routine.  When you treat skin well, it repays you.  I can practically hear it saying thank you when I apply my Clinique moisturiser.

Another way to keep your skin and hair looking as youthful as you can is by watching what you are putting into your body.  In this case, it is the toxins of cigarettes.

Turning 38 is only two years away from being 40.  An age where I never thought that I would still smoke.  Having quit for two years before, I know that I can do it.  I remember the benefits gained from quitting smoking that was not just my bank balance.

Food was tastier.  A fresher complexion.  My hair looked shinier.  I woke up earlier and felt like I had so much more energy.

So this week, I am going to bite the bullet again.  

Last time I used the cold turkey method but my life is different now.  I am pulled in many different directions and have many more things that want my time and my attention.  I do not have the energy to commit to the hell of cold turkey.  This needs to be a slower process.

So this time, I am going to go down the vaping route. 

As I have an upcoming holiday, I thought it wise to check out whether vaping is allowed in the two countries that I can going to this year.  This guide to vaping and travelling has proved very helpful and I urge follow vape travellers to check it out.

17 December 2016

The Benefits of E-Cigarettes When Quitting Smoking

One of the least things I am proud of this year is that I am still smoking.  This is especially irritating considering that only a short time ago, I quit for two years.

When I quit smoking the last time I stopped completely.  Right away, cold turkey.  Although this was very, very hard, I managed it.  This time though I think I am going to need some assistance. My life now is very different to when I quit before and I cannot rely on will power alone. 

According to a major report that was done by the Royal College of Physicians, E-cigarettes can be beneficial to those and should who smoke should be encouraged to use them in lieu of regular cigarettes.

The report, all 200 pages of it, has sifted through all of the various devices and made an effort to clarify the conflicting advice on their usage. The conclusion is that in spite of the myriad of concerns regarding e-cigarettes, they don't work as a "gateway" to smoking for those who aren't smokers and those who are using them had already had a long established habit of being a smoker.

It goes on to further suggest that those who smoke may fail if they don't wean themselves off of tobacco products by trying something like an e-cigarette. It may help them in the long run, to successfully cease smoking. In this fashion, the e-cigarettes work as a gateway to help them quit.

According to the report, the conclusion is that an electroniccigarette are quite likely to be more beneficial in helping the public stay healthy and helping a smoker to stop smoking. They are by and far much safer than regular cigarettes.

According to John Britton, Professor of Royal College Of Physicians Tobacco Advisory "Group, the growing trend of e-cigarettes works well as a substitute for tobacco smoking and has long been a controversial topic with a lot of speculation regarding the risks and the benefits of e-cigarettes.

The report goes on to lay to rest nearly all of the concerns over e-cigarettes in comparison to regular cigarettes. It is believed that e-cigarettes have a great potential to give a major contribution toward preventing premature death and disease due to smoking. Smokers should understand that the use of an e-cigarette in lieu of regular tobacco products may go far in helping them to stop smoking forever.

According to Jane Dacre, Professor, The report builds on the current and existing work and has concluded that the risks involved are far less for e-cigarettes than for regular tobacco cigarettes. This could, in turn, hasten the potential for a tobacco free society. By using careful management and proportions, those who do smoke can greatly reduce the amount they smoke when they select e-cigarettes over regular cigarettes.

It's estimated that 2.1 Britons currently choose e-cigarettes over regular cigarettes. This figure is on the rise and since 2007 when the e-cigarette was introduced they have been successfully marketed as a method to help smokers wean themselves off of their nicotine addictions. The e-cigarette delivers a lower dose of nicotine and helps to reduce the cravings of a cigarette. By moving to lesser amounts of nicotine the person is weaning themselves off of harmful cigarettes.

Thus, cigarette use is in a slow decline for the UK. At present 18.7 percent of all UK adults are smokers and the rates are continuing to drop.

*In  collaboration with Simply Liquid

19 February 2015

The Big Smoke

Two and a half years ago I quit smoking.  It was one of the hardest but best things I have ever done.  Sadly, due a multitude of stressful events, six months ago I started again.  I am not proud of it but smoking defnately became my little crutch to get my through the rough patches.

I was recently contacted by Intellicig and was offered an electric e-cigarette starter kit to use to see how I got on.

At the moment, I am intermingling the e-cig with real cigarettes, using the e-cig in the day and real at night.  This isn’t ideal obviously and the fact that I was able to quit a 20 a day habit before purely on cold turkey and cannot now is severely irritating me.

The e-cig is definately helping me during the day and so from Monday next week, I have made the command decision that the real cigarettes will officially be knocked on the head.   
I can feel that determined streak kicking back in, finally, so hopefully it won’t be long before the only taste I crave in my mouth is a cocktail, not a cigarette!

You can buy the Intellicig Starter Kit for £18.99 and for this you receive:

1 x Starter Battery
1 x Starter Vapour Device
1 x Starter Battery Charger
5 x ECOpure Refill Capsules (Regular 10mg)

In addition, you can also receive 10 free refill capsules of your choice which you merely need to add to your basket when buying the starter kit.

I will let you know my progress!

Vicky x

* Gifted item

28 July 2014

Socialite E-Cigarettes

I have a confession to make.  I’ve fallen off the bandwagon.

After two years of not smoking, a few weeks ago, I started again.  Not in the 20 a day way that I did before, but regularly and every day.   I know, I know, what an idiot.   I am a firm believer however that it isn’t the mistakes you make that define you; it is the way in which you rectify them.

I tried pulling on the reserve of strength that I had to quit  the first time, cold turkey but unfortunately, that strength has been a bit depleted of late and the drive this time didn’t help.  So when Katy from Socialites contacted me and asked me if I wanted to review an E-Cigarette, it felt that just the opportune moment.

I started using the Platinum Starter Kit* yesterday and so far, so good.   I haven’t had any real cigarettes and the fact that the e-cig is shaped liked a cigarette I think is really helping.  It even lights up at the end.

Here is what comes in the starter pack:
 photo cig_zps364ef9b7.jpg
The pack comes with a rechargeable battery, a USB charger, 2 Cartomizers (80 Cigarettes) and an instruction card. 

I will let you know how I go on!

 photo signature_zps747b2e1a.png

* Item has been gifted.  The review of this product will be in one week when I have had a chance to properly test.  All opinions are my own.

15 April 2013

Emerging from a Puff of Smoke!

The thing about achievements is that when I actually have an achievement to celebrate, I suddenly come over all British and self deprecating. 

One of unspoken rules of bring British is “don’t flaunt yourself, be modest”.  Well today, Britain, my modesty is being thrown to the winds and I’m flaunting like a showgirl at the Folies Bergere.  Take that British reserve!

Today is one year to the day that I decided to quit smoking.  It has been a long and sometimes onerous process, but the benefits make it worth it. 

I am, believe it or not, a cheerier person in the morning now.  I’ll never be a “morning person” but now at least I am safe for people to be around before 10.30am.  Also, the coughing my guts up in the morning isn’t something I miss.

There are also obviously the financial gains.  I don’t even want to think about how much I spent on cigarettes previously.  Around 18 years of 20 a day.  But I’m not a believer in looking at where you have been; I like to concentrate on the road ahead. tells me that I am now at 50% less at risk of having heart disease after this first year and the benefits will only increase from here.

If you are reading this and want to quit smoking, I would highly recommend Allen Carr’s “The Easy Way to Quit Smoking”.  It is the method that I used and for me, it worked.

I am also happy to inform you that I haven’t turned into one of those evangelical ex smokers.  You know the kind.  The kind that when I was a smoker, I wanted to poke in the eye.  In fact, I still do.  I loved smoking and yes, I still miss it. 

All the diseased lungs photographs and health warnings and cost statistics in the world could not have convinced me to quit until I was ready.  The only way you will ever quit is if you truly want to.  I reached that point, and I have.

So today I have reached my one year anniversary and it’s something I am truly proud of.  The journey isn’t over, but I think I am can safely say that I can pin on an ex smoker badge. 

I couldn’t have done it without the support of my friends and family.  You need a support system around you, and thankfully mine are absolutely fantastic.  To say thank you for the help I am taking my mum and step dad out for a lovely Italian meal and my best friends to a restaurant for lunch and wine.  Now that’s a better use of my money ;)

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28 August 2012

Digging My Heels In

I always thought that the hardest time when quitting smoking would be within the first month.  In one way, that is true.  The cravings are at their worst and the lure to return back to smoking is still high.

After the first month, along with reaping the physical benefits, in my case returning to being a human being in the morning instead of a scary, groggy monster, there are also the financial benefits.  Let's face it, although when I did actually smoke you couldn't have dragged it out of me on pain of death, I was spending close to £180.00 per month on cigarettes.

Looking back now, I haven't one clue as to how I afforded that.  Well, in truth, I didn't, I just cut back on every other aspect of my life so that it was affordable.  Once the first month is over with, you get to enjoy the next few months with a lot of extra cash, and feeling better day by day.

Today though, well at weekend to be exact, it was brought home to me that although at four months, I am doing well in the fight against cigarettes, the battle has been won but not yet the war.

Over the past 4 months I have had two puffs of a cigarette, on different occasions.  Both on a night out with smokers around me.  The previous two times actually increased my resolve.  I didn't enjoy the taste and they did nothing for me.  There were dangerous experiments that didn't cause any harm.

This weekend however, the dangerous experiment backfired.  I was out with the girls and on my way to the taxi rank I started talking to a smoker.  Without really even thinking about what I was doing, I asked for a puff of his cigarette.  It wasn't a craving, it wasn't an experiment to see if it still tasted bad, it was just a..... thing.

To be honest, I was fully expecting it to be like the previous two occasions.  Well I had smelt the lure of a cigarette, tried it and found it horrible to taste.  This time, it wasn't.  That one puff of a cigarette brought back every single memory of how much I had loved smoking.  It tasted so good, I didn't feel dizzy, it felt right.  Oh crap.

The next morning, I had a lucky escape.  There were no cravings, and no temptation to wander off to the shops for a packet of cigarettes.  I had a feeling of guilt but nothing more.  It could have been so much worse.  I could have knocked myself back to the beginning.

That's when I realised, the moment that you think that you are safe, that you don't need to keep your guard up, that is one of the most vulnerable times.  I probably would have known this if I had gone down the route of smoking cessation classes and all the information that is readily out there.  It is just common sense really.

Me being me though, I like doing what you shouldn't.  99% of people will tell you that having a puff of a cigarette when you are trying to quit is a really stupid idea.  It is.  I have learnt that now.  I am not over my addiction.  Although I am no longer in the grasps of complete addiction of cigarettes, I could, if I don't keep my guard up, accidentally become a smoker again without much of an effort.

The puff of a cigarette on a night out would turn into "Oh go on then, I'll just have one".  This would move to smoking "socially" and then suddenly, I would be a smoker again.

So, resolve back in place, stupidity back in check (for smoking at least haha).  I'm back on track.  

Me if I am not careful!!

18 June 2012

No Smoke Signals

Today is an anniversary for me.  It is exactly two months since I stopped smoking.

The journey has been much different to what I expected, both easy in parts as well as hard.  For the most part, determination has seen me through the weeks, along with much support from family, friends and Twitter.

Strangely, this past week has been one of the hardest I have had in terms of cravings.  My friend, who used to run smoking cessation classes, told me that this is the time when it can be the hardest.  When complacency creeps in and you believe that you have beaten the cravings.

That much is definately true.  After passing the six/seven week mark with hardly any cravings at all, I let my guard down and as such, the cravings have slipped back to a level that makes it hard once again.

But, now I have realised this, my determination is back in full force and I think it is time to read "The Easy Way to Quit" again, which helped me so much in the first place.  Never surrender!!

30 April 2012

The Hit List

I am now on Day 14 of my new non smoking life.  Overall, I think I have been doing ok with the cravings and carrying on with life as normal. 

I purposely did not plan to stop when I had a quiet period with nothing to do and nothing stressful on the horizon.  Most say that you should plan for quiet for a period, until you wean yourself away from cigarettes.  Like with everything though, I like to do things my own way.  My life isn’t naturally quiet or stress free so I see little point in hiding away.  I prefer to deal with every situation as it comes.

My aim is that at the end of the first month, I will be craving free and I can turn my back on that part of my life completely.  The journey is different for everyone but given the progress I’ve made so far, I feel it is achievable.

Feeling strong and excited today, I thought it was time for my hit list of things I want to buy with my regained money.  Being the sensible kind, despite having previously blown £180.00 away in smoke each month, some of it will go on sensible things but the rest, is play time.

Top of the list has to be going to a Formula One race.  I have opened a new bank account, entitled “F1” and money will now be going in there every month to fund a European race next year. 

Next on the list?  A watch.  Why?  I don’t own one and haven’t for years.  Watches are one of the things that I believe you need to invest it.  There is nothing worse than having a tacky piece of plastic hanging on your wrist.  I’ve never owned a watch because I have never had the money to spend on a decent one.

I found this at the back of my wardrobe the other day.  Hideously tacky, but as a savings box it will serve it’s purpose and save my pound coins until I have enough for the watch I want.  I can take my time (haha) with this one, having previously used my mobile as a clock all these years, I am in no rush.
Number three, inevitably is shoes.  Not just a pair of shoes.  “The” shoes.  I’m not talking about buying a pair of Louboutins either.   Although I love them, me being me I would no doubt manage to scuff the heel or scrape the front.  I would be too scared to wear them. 

Instead, I have found a website called Shoes of Prey which let you design your own shoes.  I have done that and after a few months of putting some money aside, I will have the shoes I have always wanted, but have never been able to find.

Lastly, to offset in a small way some of the frivolous and self related spending, I am upping my monthly charity contribution.  If I can  now afford to buy myself all of the above, I can certainly afford to spend more than £2 a month on charity. 

So there we go.  That is my little ex smoker hit list of purchases.  Now time to put action into plan and then reality.

26 March 2012

I Don’t Need a Nanny

So once again the budget rears it’s ugly head. 

There is usually something on there which will incense parts or most of the population.  Am fortunate enough that usually, the effects of the budget do not affect me too much. 

I travel on the bus, don’t have children and the hike up in price on alcohol and cigarettes is expected.  Not this time however.

I am aware that as a smoker, whilst not a minority, I am definately in the category of “You should know better” or “Well there go, quit then”.  The smoking ban in pubs, restaurants etc didn’t bother me.  I don’t have a problem in not smoking around non smokers.  It’s common courtesy.

37p a packet extra on cigarettes though?  That has taken the biscuit for me.  George Osborne’s defence of the hike up in price is.
"Smoking remains the biggest cause of preventable illness and premature death in the UK.  There is clear evidence that increasing the cost of tobacco encourages smokers to quit and discourages young people from taking it up."
Am sorry, but that is complete and utter rubbish.  Whilst, yes of course, smoking related illnesses are preventable, for the Government to use this as a justification for raising the tax on cigarettes is ridiculous.
Smokers pay taxes, just like everyone else.  Part of that taxation goes towards the NHS.  We also pay a very high price on tax on cigarettes.  The Government get millions upon millions of pounds from smokers.  Yes of course a lot of that can be offset against smoking diseases.  But certainly not all of it.
I will not be dictated to by the Government into choosing what I can and can’t do.  Last time I checked everyone in this country still had the freedom of choice.
The Government don’t really want people to stop.  It will lose them money.  However jumping on the health bandwagon is just a useful tool in order to hike the sales tax up.   All it will do is encourage people to buy cigarettes from the black market.
In one way, I would have still be shocked and horrified that the Government had added such a large addition to the sales tax if they had simply said, it’s one way of boosting funds, getting us out of the recession.  But to hide behind the health issue, well that just adds fury to the flame.

7 January 2012

Challenge Update

I think I may be doing a few of these blogs relating to the whole cut down smoking thing.  Apart from anything, when I am typing, I can’t smoke!

Cutting down 6 cigarettes a day doesn’t sound like a lot, compared to those who go straight into the quit, but you have to do what is right for you.  Personally, I prefer to do this on a slow process. 

I’ve been on 20 a day for over ten years and this is the biggest effort I have made.  On day 10 of  the intended 14 a day I have been good to my goal.  Some days have been 15 I have to admit, but in the long run, that isn’t a major thing.

Tonight however I have a problem.  I have reached my 14 limit, and have had the extra one.  Bed is not in sight anytime soon and therefore smoking is inevitable. 

You can say to yourself “It’s weekend, don’t worry, do what you want” but I can’t do that. I have my goal and going past that is not something I want to do no matter what day it is.

So, with that in mind, my goal for tonight is just not to go past 20.  When   at home for the weekend I have always smoked more, sometimes 25-30 in one day as opposed to the usual 20. 

As long as I am strict with myself and go back tomorrow to the goal of 14 I am not worried.  I have never done this quitting thing before, obviously, so I am just going with the flow.  Whether it is right or wrong I don’t know.

That’s the update so far.  Progress report was doing well, but today has to read: Could do better.

5 January 2012

Baby Steps

I’m a smoker.  I have been since the age of 14.  I’m not proud of it, but I’m not ashamed either.

Many people seem to look down on you when you say that you smoke.  If you are a considerate smoker, i.e. never smoking around non smokers, I don’t see why you should feel ashamed.  It isn’t like I am saying I’m a heroin addict (which I’m not before you ask).

Over the years I have thought about quitting, but until now that is all I have done about it.  Think.

The trouble is, I love smoking.  I bloody love it.  It calms me down when I’m stressed, it’s enjoyable with a drink of something alcoholic or after a meal. 

Obviously I am aware of the health issue.  It has always been at the back of my mind but unfortunately that competes with the side of me that doesn’t like being told what to do and it someone says I shouldn’t do something, I more than probably will. 

Over the New Year however I was away with friends, none of whom smoked and as such, the amount of cigarettes I smoked went down.  No one likes standing out in the cold for a cigarette and particularly not when you are on your own. 

I am usually a 20 a day person.  Over the New Year I went down to about 14, which given the amount of alcohol consumed over that period is amazing.  It started me wondering when I returned home if it was something I could keep up.   So I decided to give it a go.

The end plan of course is to eventually quit.  Health issues aren’t going to scare me out of smoking but the fact that I could have a lot more money at my disposal is more than tempting.  At this points “shoes” runs through my brain.

So for now, my little challenge is to maintain the 14 a day I started with at New Year.  Then once I have a handle on that, well, we will see how we go from there.  Baby steps, not a marathon is more likely to work with me. 

The end goal, stop smoking (without a goal date though as I don’t like to be pushed).  Present goal, maintain what I’m doing for a month and then review.  If I manage to quit completely, my aim is to use a few months’ worth of the saved money for a pair of Louboutins.  Now that is something to aim for as I am after all at heart a shoe girl.

I’ll let you know how I go on.