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Philip F looking relaxed, standing in a garden, he is smiling and has his hands in his pockets

"It has been one of the things that I have been trying to do for some time, but this is the one time I have been able to see it through."

Once 31-year-old dad of one and children’s residential support worker, Philip, made up his mind to quit smoking, there was no stopping him.

“Because of the lockdown I was spending more money on cigarettes. I work in a children’s home and have worked all the way through. It is good in that I have managed to not be furloughed – but I found I would generally smoke more at work, during my breaks to ‘take five’ as a stress relief. Since I have quit, I don’t get as stressed as I used to.

“I live on my own so have always struggled financially in that you can’t live beyond your means. Now I am starting to be able to save money up a bit more. I don’t feel as financially stressed, I know I have a bit more money there now. Whereas in the past I would have some financial worries there, I don’t have that now.

“I needed to stop spending so much money and the only other thing I could do was exercise. So, for the first time in my life I took up running, which made me want to quit even more to get a bit quicker. I started at the end of March and did my first 10 mile run the other day: one hour 25 minutes.

“I used to smoke 20 a day and have smoked since I was 14, so that’s 17 years now. I started taking stop smoking tablets in March, which were prescribed by my GP. I didn’t quit until around the end of April. I kept on smoking for longer than I probably should have and then one day I decided that today would be the day.

“Using the tablets was the best thing for me. I have tried them in the past, they can disturb your sleep or make you depressed. They work in that you take them and then you have a cigarette and it doesn’t taste great. I knew from the past I had struggled and so I made a plan – I was ready this time round and was prepared for it.

“My daughter is five, and, although she hasn’t asked about me smoking, I thought I should stop for her. My girlfriend doesn’t smoke, and she has been a big part of it too. My girlfriend is happy as she is planning to move in, and she wanted me to quit before she does that. I haven’t really told anyone that I quit. It can be an added pressure on yourself. I don’t even know if my family know, under lockdown I have not had the chance to see them.

“I would tell other people wanting to do what I did: don’t quit unless you are 100% sure you want to. The other times I tried, I don’t think I was ready. You know when you genuinely want to. Tabs are so expensive now – even if you just quit for a few days you will see the difference. Take each day as it comes. Think I want to quit today and do a day then another day. When you wake up in the morning and set your mind to that gradually all those days will accumulate.

“I know I am not going to smoke again now. Compared to other times – I know that’s me done.”

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