'I quit smoking for my son'

Cecelia Elliott, a London secretary, realised her son might have to grow up without a mum if she didn't stop smoking. Here's how she successfully quit.

“I’ve been smoking on and off since I was 16. My dad used to smoke and I thought I’d try it. By the time I was an adult, I was smoking 10 a day – but on a bad day, I’d get through 15-20. I smoked even more when I was stressed.

“Over 26 years I had times where I stopped smoking. I’d always stop for Lent, but I’d be counting the days until I could have a cigarette again. My 12-year-old son, Blair, used to lecture me on smoking. When I lit up, he’d open a window and start coughing, but I didn’t want to know.

“Then one day we were driving along and saw a big stop smoking poster with a picture of a wreath that spelt out MUM. It was obviously saying that the mum had died and the wreath was from her children. Blair looked at it and said, ‘I don’t want that to be me.’

'I didn't want to die from smoking'

"My mum died when I was a teenager and I didn't want Blair to go through that experience as well. So I thought, 'I have to sort this. I have to stop'. I knew I could die of something else, but I really didn't want to die from smoking. I didn't want to contribute to my own death.

"I saw an advert on TV for Quit and rang them to get the number of the support group nearest to me. By the time I went for my first appointment, I'd already stopped for a week.

"The group met once a week for six weeks. It was great having the support of people in the same position. We could talk about our experiences, and we could phone each other if we needed help.

"About three weeks in, I did have a couple of puffs, just to see what I was missing, but I didn't enjoy it. Once I made up my mind, there was no going back.

"It was much easier than I thought it would be. The only time that was difficult was just after dinner, when I'd usually have had a cigarette. But it was just habit. Instead, I'd wash the dishes or do something else.

"I can now go out with people who smoke and I don't feel tempted. I look at them and think, 'I'm so glad I don't have to do that any more'. I'm more aware of how much it smells.

"Now I'm just loving life. I feel brilliant! I feel free of the burden of having to have cigarettes when I'm going out, or having to stand in a special queue for them in the supermarket.

"I love not smoking. I can put my hand on my heart now and say I will not smoke again. My son's over the moon about it. He keeps saying, 'I can't believe you've stopped for me'. He's chuffed to bits."

The picture on this page is posed by models.

Read what you can do now to stop smoking.

Page last reviewed: 20/09/2014

Next review due: 20/09/2016

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