Carol is celebrating two months smoke free, using Livewell’s remote support and home delivery of treatments during lockdown.

The 56-year-old from Derby had smoked 10-20 cigarettes/roll ups a day over 42 years. Whilst at an eye appointment for cataracts at the Royal Derby Hospital in early March, she saw a poster on the wall explaining why smoking is bad for eye health.

“Smoking is known to cause heart disease and lung cancer but I had no idea about the detrimental effects that smoking could have had on my vision.  It made me think about my chances of having other health problems so I decided it was a good time to try to quit.”

Carol joined Livewell to stop smoking just as the country locked down.  Her face-to-face appointment was promptly changed to a telephone one with advisor, Gemma.  She was advised to use Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) patches as these had worked well for her in a previous quit attempt 20 years ago.

“The remote support actually worked better for me.  The delivery of patches to my home compelled me to use them and keep going.  It would have been so easy not to turn up to a drop in and pick them up which is how the service normally works.”

“Gemma texted me regularly – checking how I was doing and offering call support if I needed it.  She also put the onus on me to request more patches when I ran out. I knew I’d feel ashamed if I slipped up so I stuck to it.”

Although it’s early days for feeling any health benefits, Carol loves that her house and clothes smell fresh.  She’s also saved £185 since quitting and a similar amount on patches since Livewell offers up to eight weeks of Nicotine Replacement Therapy products for free.

“My quit became more real when I announced on Facebook that I’d stopped. It’s harder to relapse when you’ve told the world that you’ve quit. My sister is a former smoker and is a strong source of support telling me I must accept the Client of the Month award and share my story.  It’s difficult to light up when you feel accountable to others!”

Carol’s Top tips

  • Don’t keep tobacco or cigarettes in the house – get rid of any temptation.
  • Set yourself a project to keep busy and distracted – I started growing vegetables in my garden.
  • Remind yourself you’re a non-smoker (introduce yourself in that way) – I used that mantra every time I woke up craving a cigarette.
  • Tell your friends and family (in person or on social media) about your quit – they will support you and you’ll feel you can’t let them down.
  • Accept praise/rewards – it makes it difficult to go back.
  • Use a treatment that works for you – patches remove the physical withdrawal symptoms of nicotine and worked well for me as I weaned off them. They enabled me to focus on the psychological aspects of quitting.  I kept telling myself that I’m no longer addicted and that I can do it!!