“I’d tried everything in the past to give up – patches, lozenges, chewing gum. But when it came down to it I just didn’t have enough willpower. Even a small craving or the slightest thing went wrong and I’d be reaching for my tobacco.”
Grandmother of eight and mother of five Diane Edmonds started smoking at the age of 21. Having the odd cigarette to keep her then partner company turned into a 33 year smoking habit that saw her getting through a pouch of tobacco a week.
“After trying and failing to give up I’d just resigned myself to the fact I would be a smoker forever. I just couldn’t manage when I was giving up, I felt emotional, my bones were aching. It felt easier to keep on smoking even though I knew how bad it was.”
Then earlier this year Diane, who lives with her youngest daughter and five year old granddaughter in Salford, was offered the opportunity to take part in a pioneering e-cig trial.
A thousand smokers in Salford were offered a free e.cig to try if they committed to meetings with an expert stop smoking advisor and regular carbon monoxide tests.
“I was dubious” said Diane “Because nothing had worked in the past. But Mark the stop smoking advisor said to me you’ve got nothing to lose in giving it a go.”
“So I did, and I liked it straight away. It felt like a cigarette and I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. It kept my fingers nice and busy, I liked the fact that smoke, well steam, came out of it.
“Initially I was wondering how I was even going to do the four weeks Mark had asked me to commit to. But then that came and went and I was getting on so well I paid and got a new e-cig with a good battery. And now five months on I haven’t been near a cigarette.
“I didn’t have any nicotine withdrawal at all, because of course with a vape you’re getting all the nicotine but none of the other nasty things you get in cigarettes. If I thought of a cig I’d just have a quick vape and the moment passed.
“I would recommend anyone smoking to try giving up like this. For me it took away the having to have willpower and feeling like I was missing out on something.”
Diane is loving not having the smell of smoke on her clothing, particularly as she spends time with her grandchildren.
“I have a new baby grandson and as I leant over him for the first time it struck me how it was really nice not to have that tobacco smell on me. I love being free of it.”