Colette's journey to a smoke-free life

You might remember us shouting about the new Boots #StopForGood nationwide programme to help people kick smoking for good in 2018. We put a call-out to the public to help someone stop smoking with a free 12-week bespoke #StopForGood programme with Boots. We got so many applicants, but we chose someone we felt really needed encouragement and support on her journey.

Colette Cotterell  has been a full-time health-care receptionist and smoker for the past 40 years and has tried, without success, to give up. Over a 12-week period, she'll have one-to-one sessions with a Boots #StopForGood advisor to keep her on track with progress, while rewarding her for meeting her goals with products, money-off vouchers and even an in-store makeover or skincare consultation. Colette will be writing a diary about her progress on the Boots programme for the next 3 months with the aim of inspiring others, like her, to stop smoking for good. Here, she tells us why she took the plunge with us and her first experience in the Stop For Good programme.

Day 1 of my journey. Today is the first day of the rest of my cigarette free life (Is this really me saying this? Or has somebody taken over my body and mind?).

A full-time smoker for the past 40 years, I’ve decided the time is now to stop and that’s why I’ve signed up to be a Boots #StopForGood advocate with image.ie. When I saw the call-out on Facebook last week, I thought to myself "this is something that might work" and with that, I took the plunge! I hoping that with an advisor to set me on the right path, someone I can look to for advice when I need it and a champion that might hold me accountable - then there’s a very, strong chance I’ll succeed this time.

Today I’ve had my first meeting with Rob, my Boots Stop For Good advisor. He explained all the benefits of stopping smoking - going into detail about all the short and long-term health benefits. We also talked through the money I could save from stopping and also my ‘good’ reason to stop for good this time. I told Rob that I’m fed up of being breathless and that I want to have energy to play with my grandchildren. This is my reason to stop. I want to live longer and begin to enjoy a life without cigarettes.

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I work as a full-time receptionist in a health centre facility so it’s really not ideal for me to go to work smelling of smoke. In fact, it’s quite embarrassing. Rob spoke about the various symptoms I would experience when I stopped smoking including withdrawal symptoms, bad humour, low patience and worst of all insomnia. He also provided me with various ways of coping with these.

Towards the end of our session, I did a carbon monoxide test. When you’re a smoker the carbon monoxide level content in your blood is much higher than that of someone who doesn’t smoke. I was told that this reading will be taken at each session I attend to show that the carbon monoxide level in my body is dropping and to qualify me for the rewards I’ll be getting throughout the programme.

At the end of the session, Rob gave me my first reward of a sleep gift set which includes pillow spray, sleep balm, shower cream and a sleep mask to help me when the withdrawal insomnia kicks in – this was a really nice touch. The whole session was both eye-opening and enjoyable. I left feeling confident and that with Rob’s help I would succeed in stopping this time. He let me know that if I’m struggling at all, I can ring them at any time to have a chat. I’ll have another session with Rob in two weeks’ time, to let him know how I’m getting on, take another carbon monoxide test and to get my week 2 reward.

So, for now, I’m signing off…until next time, and really looking forward to the rest of my cigarette free
life.

Cheers, Colette

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