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After smoking for 26 years Andrew Philips, from Longford, finally got some not so gentle encouragement from his kids Ciaran (9) and Millie (6) to QUIT for good.
Here's Andrew's story...
I started smoking as a young fella in secondary school. There were four or five of us and we’d buy a pack of cigarettes each day between us and smoke them behind the school shed.
I was working in a printing company in my early twenties when I realised I was addicted to cigarettes. My boss Brian used to smoke cigars and if we ran out we’d share what we had. Brian subsequently died from cancer.
When I was younger I used to run cross country. Back then I didn’t think cigarettes were affecting me and my running, but now I know it probably did.
I tried to give up three or four times in the past, before Ciaran and Millie came along, but I failed miserably. I think I got complacent. I would go out for a few drinks with friends and I’d start smoking again. The longest I QUIT before was a year but I knew my heart wasn’t in it.
The kids were always nagging me to quit. Ciaran had learnt all about how bad cigarettes are for you at school.
Both of them would say to me that I was killing myself each time they saw me smoking.
I knew my smoking really upset them.
The turning point came when I saw my young son Ciaran mimicking me smoking. I looked out the window and saw that he had his fingers up to his mouth. I knew then I had to stop.
You spent your time watching your kids, but you forget that they are watching you too.
I noticed also finding it harder to keep up with my kids and to play uninterrupted with them without going for a cigarette.
This time I was determined to get the help I needed. I had seen the ads on TV with Gerry Collins and knew about the HSE’s Quit service.
In September 2016, I signed up for an online Quit plan. Before my quit date my advisor Niamh, from the Quit Team, rang me and we went through my plan in detail. I followed Niamh’s advice and cleared away the lighters, ash trays and cigarettes before my Quit date.
The last time I quit I just used the Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) patches.
This time Niamh recommended that I used the NRT patches and suggested using the NRT spray as well to get that instantaneous nicotine boost when I had a craving.
Niamh also explained how to use the patches. The first month I used the 25mil patches, the second month I used the 15mil and the third month I used the 10mil patches.
My family and friend were a great support but you don’t always want to be talking to your family. It is brilliant to be able to talk to someone like Niamh every week who is there to help you each step along the way.
Anytime I needed the extra support I would call 1800 201 203 and talk to the Quit Team. After each phone call I would say out loud that I’m not going to smoke.
I may have quit smoking but I’ve gained so much more. Since I quit smoking I’ve actually changed my whole lifestyle.
Now I feel so much fitter and I find I have lots more energy.
I’m running around with the kids much more and I don’t have to stop for a cigarette. I cycle 15 miles in and out of work four days a week.
I’m going out now for lots of walks and I’ve started running again, small distances but I’m hoping to build on it over time.
I’m also now an assistant soccer coach for the local soccer team since I quit smoking.
My goal was to stop smoking and my two kids are my reason to keep going. Once I have Ciaran and Millie with me I know I’ll stay quit.