Amanda White from Nenagh, Tipperary is one of the stars of the HSE’s QUIT TV ad. She stopped smoking three years ago this January. Here’s an update on her story.
“It’s three years since I made my final quit attempt and I feel like I never smoked. I consider myself a non-smoker which is amazing as quitting for good used to seem like an impossible achievement.
Like most people I started smoking when I was a teenager because I thought it was cool. I thought that quitting would be an impossible task but three years ago I managed to kick my 20 year habit for good.
New Year - fresh start
I saw the New Year as a fresh start and a chance for a new beginning. I wanted to go through the whole of 2016 as a non-smoker.
I knew that there were be difficult times during the year like my Dad’s anniversary in April and other life events that might cause stress or upset, where I might be tempted to turn to smoking and I wanted to make sure that I could get through those times without cigarettes.
Since quitting, my breathing has become so much better. I like to sing and I can keep my breath and hold notes that I never could before. Quitting has been great for my overall health – I eat much better than I did before and exercise is easier.”
"I couldn't have done it on my own"
While things are going great for Amanda now, she remembers that quitting was hard at the start.
“Quitting is one of my biggest achievements but I couldn’t have done it on my own. The support I got from the HSE’s QUIT team helped me break my habit.
The QUIT team 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.
I knew that at any point I could pick up the phone and ring them if I felt like I was going to relapse and that they would not judge me. I live alone so there wasn’t always someone there to encourage me but knowing that I could call the QUIT team when I needed encouragement really helped.
The QUIT team gave me the support I needed to finally stop smoking. My advice to anyone who is thinking about quitting is to get in touch with the QUIT team today. You don’t have to do this on your own.
Amanda's advice for people trying to quit
When asked what advice she has for people who are trying to quit this year, Amanda said,
“The best advice I have is not to go it alone. Quitting can seem overwhelming but take it one day at a time and call the QUIT Team or sign up for a QUIT plan at www.quit.ie. They will help you break things down into easy steps and help you through the journey day by day.”
Amanda remembers finding cravings hard to deal in the early stages and has some advice for people in the same boat.
“Cravings don’t last for forever but it can feel that way at the start. I wrote out four steps – the four Ds – delay, distract, deeply breathe and drink water and stuck the notes in places where I would normally smoke. I found drinking lots of water helped me at the start and it’s a habit I’ve kept up.
There were ups and downs at the beginning but once you understand you’ll have those challenges and that you can get through them you can keep going.”