I have a tiny confession to make. It’s not a big one, I imagine a lot of readers will be the same. I used to smoke. Quite a lot actually. And while I feel like I ought to say ‘and that was a terrible thing and I was disgusting’ I don’t really feel that way, it was just something I did.
It took me several attempts to give up. Watching EastEnders was the worst, I couldn’t not have a cigarette when Dot Cotton was having one. Maybe that’s the most shameful bit here, that Dot Cotton was some kind of misleading role model to me! When I would smoke I’d try and be as considerate as possible to other people, smoking with a window open in the car or out the back door of the kitchen, however what I didn’t know was that 80% of secondhand smoke is invisible. Eighty percent!
As the mother of a one year old with asthma I am conscious of what she’s breathing in; secondhand smoke can make lower respiratory infections (such as bronchitis and pneumonia) up to 60% more likely and exposure of children to secondhand smoke is responsible for over 300,000 general practice consultations and 9,500 hospital admissions in the UK each year. But the good news for parents is that there are loads of free ways that you can get help to quit.
It took me three attempts to stop smoking, in my case the final straw was a doctor telling me I had to stop while arranging a brain scan to check for a tumor. I liked smoking, but suddenly I didn’t like it enough to put my life at risk and I know I wouldn’t ever want to put my kids at risk either. If you’re thinking of quitting there are loads of free support and resources on the NHS Smokefree site to help you including:
- A Free Quit Kit
- A Smokefree App for Smartphones
- Local Stop Smoking Services
- Text Message Support
- Daily Email Support
The NHS Smokefree campaign is currently taking place online, on television and on the radio and for people wishing to quit smoking there is a wide range of free support and resources available by searching ‘Smokefree’ online or visiting http://www.nhs.uk/smokefree
I’m working with BritMums and Public Health English alongside the #brakesonsmoking campaign. I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own. Visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree for free support and advice.