Stoptober Challenge

- This post contains sponsored content - We all know how bad smoking is for your health, skin and wallet, but unfortunately it is not the easiest of habits to break and not everyone is aware of the free help and support out there. Within the UK, via Well’s pharmacy branches, if you can dedicate 28 days to quitting and have the availability to pop into your local store weekly, trained team members can help you quit for good with friendly advice, guidance and of course the first step - Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT).
Have you been looking for a little push, perhaps even a sign that you too should give up smoking? Well universal signs don't come much bigger than the Stoptober campaign - a call to all smokers to quit for 28 days. I, along with thousands of others, took the opportunity to see if such a push could help us stay smoke free for the rest of our days. They say that those who quit for 28 days are more likely to succeed than those who don't. Admittedly, going it alone can be a little daunting so along with Stoptober, I fully recommend visiting your local Well pharmacy for additional help, information and of course the correct NRT product for your personal needs. If you are a smoker and not entirely sure why you should quit, this web page may convince you otherwise - link.

Over the years I have become like so many other social smokers, no I don't wake up in the morning with an urge to smoke but if I do go out with my friends, one drink leads to another and before I know it I have smoked at least half a packet of cigarettes. I didn't personally consider this to be a huge problem but as my local Well pharmacy pointed out, it was a habitual trait, sooner or later this may result in me finding myself smoking daily. No thank you.
The first step of asking for help can be nerve wrecking, as a naturally anxious person I can more than relate, but after no less than five visits and 28 days of support from my local Well Pharmacy, I can happily say that I no longer socially smoke. All the trained professionals were nothing but friendly and helpful - there is no judgement, they just want to see you succeed and I can promise after your first visit you'll wonder why you put off visiting for so long.

Stoptober Challenge
Stoptober Challenge

On my first visit, the Well staff member asked about my habits, what I wanted to achieve and had I ever tried to quit before. I mentioned that up until recently I didn't deem my habits to be problematic but realising that smoking in any capacity is dangerous, I wanted to quit - all of this was on a one-to-one basis in a private consultation room, so there was really no need to feel embarrassed. Admittedly, as a social smoker, my journey will be easier than those who have smoked daily and for years. However, with a little will power, the correct Nicotine Replacement Product and support, I'm more than confident you too can give up smoking. She then conducted a quick test (really non-invasive) to measure how much carbon monoxide I had in my system (this is so they can compare at the end of the 28 days to show you how far you have come). She ran through a quick questionnaire to ensure all guidance and products throughout the 28 days were tailored to my needs. I should stress that although my challenge was just 28 days long due to Stoptober, Well pharmacies do not put a time cap on how long it should take each individual to become non-reliant on Nicotine. Each journey is different and they fully recognise and support this.
It was decided that the best product for me was Nicorette Gum Fresh Mint (2mg) or the Nicotinell Compressed Lozenges Mint (2mg) as they offer the lowest level of nicotine and the most natural route of quitting for me. However, there are plenty of other NRT options including Nicorette Nasal Spary, Nicorette Inhaler or the Nicorette Mini Mints - all options will be discussed during your initial visit and can be altered as your journey progresses.
In the end, I decided that the Nicorette Gum Fresh Mint would be the best option for me as I chew gum constantly meaning it didn't feel like too much of a lifestyle change. What I will say is that I didn't expect the gum to taste as pleasant as it did, which admittedly made the next few weekends that little easier.
Stoptober Challenge

The first weekend socialising with my friends was the most difficult as it was the first time I had decided to break the chain of habit. No longer would I pull on my coat to nip outside a bar to smoke, rather I'd stay inside, keep snug, save some money and protect my health. As the evening progressed, saying no became a lot easier and if ever I felt the urge, I chomped on a piece of Nicorette Gum Fresh Mint to remind me that a, I could quit and b, I wasn't missing out.
I think for social smokers the latter is the real kicker - the fear of missing out but really what can you be missing out on? The cold? Other smokers?
As each weekend rolled past it became easier and easier, to the point that my friends who do smoke stopped asking me to come outside as it was just accepted that I no longer smoke. As a matter of fact, around the 21 day point, a good friend came along with me to my weekly appointment at Well and signed up to quit too. I visited each week (which is normal) to monitor my progress, have any burning questions answered and generally for the little pat on the back - everyone likes to know they are doing well, don't they?
So here we are 28 days later, with five super friendly and easy visits to my local Well pharmacy under my belt and guess what, I've not as much as looked at a cigarette nor do I want to. My skin looks and feels better, it is no longer dull due to smoking at the weekend and along the way I have saved no less than over £35 - that's a new bottle of perfume which I can fully enjoy or two fancy new lipsticks should I wish.
With local Well branches offering advice on NRT products, quitting for good is entirely within your grasp. Don't go it alone, pop into your nearest branch (store locator here) and make the most of the professional but friendly guidance - it could be the best thing you do for yourself this year.