GUARDIAN account manager Lisa Williams is already feeling the benefits five days into giving up smoking - in more ways than one.
The mother of two said she has already saved £18 in just three days - the price of dinner money for her children for one week.
And she is instantly looking and feeling healthier just a few days into her 28-day Stoptober challenge .
Lisa, who is trying to kick her 20-a-day smoking habit for good, said she is finding it hard but enjoying the experience.
“I won’t lie - it has been really hard at times and some parts of the day such the morning or after lunch have been quite a struggle,” she said.
“For the first few days in particular I actually felt as though I was grieving. Smoking is something I’ve been doing for 14 years and suddenly it had just gone.”
But Lisa is finding plenty of motivation to keep her going through the hard times - from support from her colleagues to messages from those following her online blog.
She is also receiving regular visits from NHS Specialist Stop Smoking advisor Kate Burley who is on hand every step of the way with advice and tips to stay smoke-free.
Last week Kate performed a carbon monoxide test on Lisa, with the reading coming back as 44ppm (parts per million) - twice that of the levels in a heavy smoker’s blood.
But this week Lisa’s reading was just 3ppm - instantly showing the benefits of ditching the cigarettes.
Said Lisa: “Hearing that has also helped me to keep going. I always thought it was something of a myth but I have also started to taste food again.”
“I just have to be careful that I don’t swap one habit for another and put on weight, but I am dealing it with as I go along.”
She added: “I have also stopped having that awful taste in my mouth first thing in the morning which always made want another cigarette.”
Lisa said Kate had also given her useful tips on how to change her routine to start adapting to her new lifestyle.
“I’ve suddenly found myself with more time on my hands, such first thing in the morning, so it’s about finding new things to do to keep me occupied,” she said.
“Social smoking when I’m with friends on a night out is also a temptation and Kate advised me to tackle it head on - to see it a challenge rather than something to dread and avoid.”
Lisa is finding using the inhalators - which mimic the hand to mouth action of smoking - a big help and is managing to only use two a day instead of the recommending six.
She said: “I was talking to someone the other day after they’d just had a cigarette and I couldn’t believe how awful it smelt. That’s how I used to smell, and it’s not very nice.”
Lisa has also started an online blog, run by Notts County Council to help support people in their bid to give up smoking.
To find out more about the support available throughout October visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk
You can also seek free specialist one-to-one support from Bassetlaw Stop Smoking Service by emailing email@example.com or by calling 0800 328 8553.
You can also get a free Stoptober support pack from our reception on Ryton Street.
l Have you stopped for Stoptober? Let us know how you’re getting on by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting our Facebook page - search Worksop Guardian.
And if you would like to tell us your story, give us a call on 01909 500500.