I started smoking at the quite ridiculous age of 21 - quite what possessed me I do not know, but I was soon hooked on this disgusting habit.
Over the years I would occasionally try to give up but I found it incredibly hard, even though smoking was becoming increasingly socially unacceptable.
I would wear 24 hour patches to get me through long flights and would annoy companions with my constant cries of "I need a cigarette".
In 2005 it was announced that smoking in public places would become illegal in Scotland from April 2006. Having been to states in the US where it was banned, I had realised I didn't really like having to nip outside for a cigarette, and I was also realising it was an expensive habit I couldn't really afford anymore. I also developed a particularly sore throat after one evening of chain smoking, which absolutely terrified me.
So with all this in mind, I decided I really wanted to quit this time, and I checked out various options available to me.
In the end I decided to try the NHS Smoking Cessation Clinic - and this is what I am reviewing. I did make a suggestion to Dooyoo for this, and they said it was already here in this category, so here is my review.
These clinics are popular so you may have to wait a month or two before there is a place available for you. Please don't let the waiting list put you off however.
When you start there will be about 10-12 people in the same boat as you, all wanting to stop smoking.
You are encouraged to talk about your smoking and why you want to quit. Unfortunately on my first session at the clinic, it was hogged by one man who talked for over half the session about why it was so important for him to give up, meaning we didn't have much time to get to know other people.
We were given options to try to stop - you can use patches, gum, willpower or Zyban. I opted for Zyban, which is an anti-depressant drug which abates cravings for nicotine.
We were given weekly prescriptions if necessary and left to await the second session the following week.
Upon returning that next week I noticed the man who had hogged so much of the first session hadn't returned, along with another person who was missing.
In this second session we were told about the levels of carbon monoxide in your body if you smoke. It was actually quite scary to see how much of this poison was in your body if you smoked, compared to next to nothing in our non-smoking doctor taking the class.
In this session a young man talked at length about how he hated smoking and what it was doing to his health - he was an active chap who enjoyed cycling and going to the gym and felt his smoking was undoing any good the exercise was doing.
I had started my Zyban a couple of days previous to this and tried to be cautiously optimistic about my chances of quitting.
Well, week 3 rolled around and there was no sign of the young man who had been so vocal about wanting to stop smoking. Other faces were missing and so a pattern had emerged. If someone spoke passionately and at length about their habit and their desire to stop, you could be almost certain they wouldn't be there the next week.
It happened several times over the 6 week span of the course and by the time we got to the final week, out of the 12 who started, only two of us remained.
Now I suppose this statistic would make you feel the Smoking Cessation Clinic is a waste of time, and clearly for some people, it was. However I found it incredibly helpful and more importantly, successful.
The doctor and health worker who took the clinic were very good at explaining how nicotine works and how it is actually only in your system for a limited period of time and if you can go 48 hours you are physically no longer dependent upon it. Any dependency you have after that is in the mind, or is just habit.
Some people were concerned about gaining weight but the doctor rightly pointed out you see plenty of very overweight people who smoke so the idea that it keeps weight off or suppresses your appetite is ridiculous.
The only thing I didn't like about the Clinic was having to get my prescription weekly - I do understand the reasoning behind this but it made it quite an expensive way for me to get the medication.
The Zyban definitely helped control any cravings I had for tobacco and it is interesting that the two people who made it to the end of this particular clinic were both taking it. I do understand there can be side-effects so the prescribing doctor will ask you quite a lot of questions before writing out the script.
So here we are in 2008 and I stopped smoking at the end of May 2005. Have I smoked again? Well yes I have - but just the once, and that was on holiday back in July 2005 after a bit too much drink.
However I felt terrible the next day and have never had a puff since and hope to stay that way now.
The hacking coughs I used to have every morning are a thing of the past, and I no longer have the terrible taste in my mouth either. Seeing a "No Smoking" sign no longer fills me with fear and travelling long distance is a breeze.
I appreciate that this approach may well not work for everyone, but it definitely worked for me and is a method I would recommend you consider.
You can learn more about NHS services to help you stop smoking here
When I called the NHS Quit Smoking Helpline I put forward what I thought was a good argument as to why people smoke. Personally I believe that a cigarette does indeed calm the nerves even though it does actually temporarily raise the blood pressure and heart rate. To cut a long story short the person I spoke to didn?t believe smoking had ANY beneficial properties. This person also insisted on lecturing me on how bad smoking is for me and how I am doing serious harm to my body. Moderation is the key everyone!
Well the title is drastic but that is one of the signs that came up when I checked out this site and clicked on the I need a cigarette now button did it have an effect well has the title had an effect on you reading this opinion ? I have wanted to give up smoking ever since my daughter was born and I have tried patches and gum with no success so i thought I would give this website a go and when you read about all the things smoking does and who is giving up and why it really does give you a whole new boost to the desire to stop and I have not had a fag since yesterday and my first read of this site. This site is supported and run by the NHS and is designed to stop people smoking and ease the pressure on the NHS brought about by the effects of smoking on peoples health and lives. They have loads of information on this site including helping people give up and what they are feeling as time goes on a dangerous thing to tell someone giving up that you know how they feel if you don't but hey it may help. They even allow you to send an e-card to a friend from the site that will encourage or remind them that they are giving up and how much you care about them doing so. There are three stages to this site and it's help to help you the first is WHY GIVE UP ? This is where they supply you with all the bad info about smoking such as health risks to yourself and others and links to hard facts that will back up their claims so that you really know that these things happen and can happen to you or somebody you love not very nice but certainly had me sitting up and reading. HOW TO GIVE UP Here is where they tell you what you really want and the reasons for which you may be giving up. They then go on to list an A-Z of things you can try to help you in your battle with the addiction and believe me there are not many thing's and methods you have heard of that are not there very good for finding the
best method for yourself. They even give info on the new anti smoking drug Zyban which apparnetly really does work but GPs won't dish it out easily. STAY STOPPED Here you are reminded of why you have given up and there are many sources of inspriation to help stay stopped.Then you can post on the site how you have managed to stop and give inspiration to others who are struggling. You are also reminded how your health and body is improving week by week day by day and the effects of not smoking are hit on the head and I can even after one day relate to the comments on giving up such as recovering my breathing pattern. There is also a section that gives advice if you do happen to re lapse and start again. What I found best about this site is the telephone service where you can speak to a stranger and explain how you feel without a cig and they are really good and can keep your head up when you are starting to waver and the best thing is that all this is free. The number is 0800 169 0 169 so give it a go after all has anything else helped. The website is very good with easy to follow click links and a section where you can communicate with other quitters and help each other as a group by lending support to those in need and taking heart from those who are doing well. The site is huge and there are many different sections which I could not begin to tell you about as the op would be enormous but you really should take a look if your a smoker or not it is good to see the government doing something to help those who want to quit. Hope this helps it is helping me just to write this op. Barry
Giving up smoking requires preparation, determination, and support. This site is here to help you with each of these.