Amanda from Nenagh, Co Tipperary, features in the new HSE QUIT campaign that uses real-life stories to encourage smokers to quit for good.
Amanda started smoking when she was a teenager because it was “cool”. She thought quitting would be a massive task and something she would never achieve.
“But, obviously, I am proof now that it can be done. I want to sing it from the rooftops that I am a non-smoker.”
Amanda believes that the help she got from the QUIT Team helped to break her 20-year smoking habit.
“They rang me every single week for the first four weeks, and every morning I woke up to a text, which was brilliant because it was really motivational – they were there for me.”
She said that because she’s single and “didn’t have that support at home” the QUIT Team gave her the encouragement she needed.
“The places I would smoke, like when I’m at home, I didn’t have anyone there to push me along.”
Five Year Plan
Amanda says that her father passed away when she was 34, which made her ‘look at life differently’ and when she turned 35, she set herself a five year plan.
“I didn’t want to be a smoker at 40 because, like losing weight, things get harder when you get older.
“It ended up taking me a year and three months and I thought it would take me five years. It’s the best thing I’ve ever ever done.”
When asked what advice she would give smokers trying to give up, Amanda said, “I would just say take one day at a time and contact the quit support team. Just keep at it and it will work, your cravings only last for three minutes so if you can distract yourself for those three minutes you’ll get through it.”
Amanda, whose daily water intake has increased to three litres, says quitting is a challenge, but perseverance pays off. “Your craving only lasts for three minutes, so if you can distract yourself at all for those three minutes, you surely will get through it.”
She said she wrote out four steps – the four Ds – delay, distract, deeply breathe and drink water and stuck the notes in places where she would normally smoke.
“There were ups and downs at the beginning, losing sleep and stuff but once you understand you’ll have those challenges, if you get up again, you can continue on.
“I can firmly say that I’m never going to smoke again and if I can give one piece of advice to anybody – just take one day at a time, because that’s all you can do.
“I feel fantastic, I have so much more energy and I just feel positive in general. It’s all good.
If you have been going it alone, why not phone the HSE Quit Team on 1800 201 203 to talk to an advisor or visit QUIT.ie for your own personalised QUITplan - it might be just what you need to help you give up smoking for good.