I posted a few weeks ago that I’d be having a go at Stoptober this year so thought I’d give an update at the half way point. I’ve just received an email through from Stoptober staying well done and that 15 days without a cigarette is quite an achievement. Apparently my lung capacity and circulation have improved and exercise should be easier. The email advises me to treat myself to something in the shops to celebrate and think about joining a gym to work on my new-found fitness.
This would be all well and good except I only made it to day two, sneaking into the garden for a cheeky smoke not long after lunch. Less than 36 hours, not overly impressive.
If I’m honest, Stoptober was never going to motivate me. I saw it as a gimmick rather than a long-term solution and my heart wasn’t really into this attempt to quit. I think I knew on day one that it was going to be a one-day effort.
Stoptober isn’t for me but that isn’t to dismiss the campaign and its aims. Plenty of people in the UK are sticking to the month off the cigarettes and I’m sure some of them will use it as a springboard to quit for good. I don’t this will equate to huge numbers but it’s something nonetheless. The campaign has also doubled up as a ‘have a month off alcohol’ campaign which is also a positive, even if it just encourages people to give their livers a break for 31 days.
The Stoptober campaign’s support for participants has been pretty good as well. There are also Facebook groups and Twitter feeds where participants can chat to each other and swap tips. I had a pack in the post as well with hints and tips on smoking cessation.
I have received daily emails encouraging me along the way. I even feel a little guilty opening the email every day and receiving another well done for ploughing on with my abstinence! Some of the tips and facts are useful, for example making sure you get in plenty of exercise as otherwise the lack of nicotine can make it difficult to sleep at night. Another useful email was about the concerns that people have about putting on weight when they quit smoking. There are strategies to prevent weight gain but a key point is that you would have to put on over five stone to equal the risk posed by smoking.
The Stop campaign argues that you are five times more likely to quit smoking for good if you manage 28 days without a cigarette and if that’s really the case it is a campaign worth running. It hasn’t worked for me and in all honesty I didn’t really give it a chance. For those of us still puffing away this time next year though, it might be worth giving it a proper go…