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Andy

Age at interview: 31
Brief Outline: Andy, 31, gave up smoking when he was 28. Andy is White British, works as a courier, and lives with his partner. He started smoking when he was a teenager and enjoyed the social aspect of smoking with friends. He thought he could give up anytime, but when he tried he found it hard. He had several attempts but gave up through will power and now thinks he will never smoke again.

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Andy started smoking when he was a teenager and would spend his time smoking at the local Little Chef with friends, accompanied by endless cups of tea. Whilst some of the other people at school would spend their money on alcohol, he would spend his on cigarettes. Andy always associated cigarettes with relaxing with friends - having a smoke with a beer or watching a DVD. He remembers his first cigarette was horrible and that he said to himself that he would give up if ever he felt addicted, but three or four years later he found himself smoking constantly. His friends and he would be particular about the brands they smoked, and he remembers seeing somebody like Samuel L Jackson in a film smoking Lucky Strikes and thinking it looked cool. On the whole, he would strike a balance between the price and taste of the cigarettes, but found there was always a brand he would go to on ‘special occasions’. Smoking ‘defined what they did’ as teenagers and they would go down to the local petrol station, get some Royals and sweets, and sit up by the canal. Their evenings revolved around smoking but now he thinks it was more about chatting with your mates.

Things changed when Andy went to university and smoking became more of a ‘ritualistic’ thing. He started to smoke roll-ups as they were cheaper and he could get cheap tobacco from his friends. His best friend at university was a fairly heavy smoker and Andy now wonders if he would have continued smoking if he hadn’t had friends that smoked at university. He can’t remember whether he tried to give up at this time, as he was struggling for money, but he didn’t have any desire to give up. After university he lived at home and his parents disapproved of his smoking. He thinks it defined a lot of what he did after university as he would make excuses to go out and see his mates because after 3-4 hours without a cigarette he would start getting irritable. He spent more money as he went to the pub to have 1-2 pints. He associated smoking with freedom - ‘doing what he wanted, when he wanted’.

His first attempt to give up was when he moved in with mates, and he was standing on his ‘own two feet’ financially, and so tried to give up. He says that ‘technically’ this attempt to give up smoking lasted 18 months but there were lots of excuses to smoke. He would occasionally say ‘let’s have a cigar’ at the pub, making the excuse of a celebration, and said to himself ‘this isn’t really smoking’ as he was only having the ‘odd’ cigar down the pub. He thinks this 18-month period was a ‘farce’ and he would go out with some mates, at a time when you could still smoke at pubs, and then would tell himself ‘I’ll only smoke while I’m drinking’. He would then buy a pack of ten ‘just for the night’ with friends, then by himself and then smoke the rest the next day. He gave up ‘four, five, six, eight times’ over the course of a couple of years , and each time he would stop smoking for a bit. He says that it was quite easy to ‘find yourself’ smoking again when you were convinced you’d stopped. Sometimes he would set a specific date and get rid of all his smoking paraphernalia, or just wake up and say he wasn’t smoking. Each of these attempts was ‘equally as unsuccessful as the others’.

Andy now thinks that if you have a proper reason and want to give up, then you will. When he failed, his heart wasn’t really in it. He knows that now if he just has ‘the one’ it will be horrible. He now thinks he is past the point where smoking would give him any pleasure whatsoever, despite his having enjoyed smoking in the past. He says that it gets easier to ignore and he is quite happy it is in his past. At the end of his smoking he didn’t enjoy it anymore and says he felt ‘enslaved’ to smoking. As he approached 30, he was getting to the point where he would have smoked for half of his life, and also he began thinking more about his health. He noticed that colds were getting ‘more difficult to shift’. He hasn’t found any significant health benefits to giving up smoking, although he says his ‘wallet feels better’. He did wonder if he had still been in a group of friends who smoked heavily if he would have given up so easily. Since he has given up, lots of things have become easier. He found the cravings for a cigarette intense and annoying and wonders if they were the same for everyone. He didn’t have nicotine patches as he felt that would just have continued his nicotine addiction. He thinks the first three days are the worst, and ‘absolute hell’. He says that if you can just get through those three days it becomes easier. He put on some weight when he gave up and saw this as ‘unavoidable’. He sees it as a series of small obstacles: ‘initially the cravings, then breaking the routine, breaking the habit, you know, the cigarette after dinner or leaving the cinema’. He says that there were a couple of battles that he ‘refused to fight’: for example when he went to Glastonbury, where he smoked for the duration. He prides himself on the fact that he doesn’t ‘give in’ anymore. He now realises just how it must have been for non-smokers to be around smokers. Even as a smoker he wanted the smoking ban to come in as he thought it would be ‘an awful lot easier’ to give up. He had always associated the health risks with older people and thought he would have given up by the time it had done him any harm. He never sought out advice about how to give up, but was aware of the general advice. He didn’t use any of the help lines.
 

10 years ago at university, Andy spent much time with his friends in bars smoking and surrounded by smokers.

10 years ago at university, Andy spent much time with his friends in bars smoking and surrounded by smokers.

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But again it was less central to everything we did at university. Because all of a sudden there’s a whole new world open to you, and you go off and do your own thing, do different things and we just we just happened to smoke alongside it. But again that was back in the days when you could sit inside pubs and smoke. And so we spent most of our time at university sat in the pub anyway. So it was you know, so we just sat there and smoked all the time.

But it was yes, I’m just trying to think if I actually ever gave, tried to give while I was at university. Because I’m sure I must have done, because there must have been the times when I said, I don’t think I can afford this at all. But if it did, I failed miserably while I was at university, because it was a, I don’t know, because you’re surrounded by lots of other people smoking and I was weak willed [laughs]. And I think truly to be perfectly honest I didn’t have the desire to give up. I think that was probably the crucial element of it.
 

Andy was still smoking when the ban came, but realised that it might help him give up smoking in the future.

Andy was still smoking when the ban came, but realised that it might help him give up smoking in the future.

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The thing is the smoking ban came on a fairly interesting time for me, because I still smoked when they were first talking about it. I mean, all the debates you’d have with your friends in the pub about should they be banning smoking, human rights, blah, blah, blah. Even as a smoker, I said, “To be honest with you, we haven’t got a leg to stand on here. You know, I mean, you find, you find a pub, that’s, you find a dingy little room where all the smokers can go and drink and work and things like that. Kind of fair enough. But in a normal pub which people who don’t smoke want to go and enjoy the evening. There is no excuse. So there’s no argument, genuine argument you can give as to why we should have a right to smoke in here, because, you know, it’s damaging to other people’s health. It’s unpleasant for people who don’t, who, don’t smoke.” And I think we didn’t really have a lot to stand on as smokers at that point to say they shouldn’t bring this ban in. And for me as well as I actually thought to myself, I hope they do bring it in because it will help me give up. And I almost kind of flagged that up in the future as may be a day to give up when the smoking ban comes in I’ll knock it on the head because it will be a yes, it will make life an awful lot easier. 

I think it was a problem because I was defining all of my smoking being around drinking. Which it really, which it really wasn’t. But I knew it would just make life a little bit easier if you couldn’t smoke in pubs. If nobody was smoking in pubs. And what I didn’t, I didn’t take into account, I think around the time the ban came in I decided to start giving up, but it was also, I think, I’m think I’m right in saying it was around the same time we had the really nice hot summer and so we all sat outside in pub gardens and, and everyone was smoking outside. So I just carried on smoking.
 

One reason why Andy started to think about giving up smoking was that it cost too much.

One reason why Andy started to think about giving up smoking was that it cost too much.

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It was the time I thought to myself, oh do you know what, it’s time I just boot this in, in the head. I don’t want to do this anymore.

I mean there were other reasons as well. I mean I think I knew deep down it was getting to the point where it was actually getting too expensive. I think it was getting to the point where they were just about to go to £5 a pack. And I think at some point I sat down and calculated how much it was costing me a month and I looked at how much I was, because I was struggling a little bit at the time with money, and I was thinking, God if I packed in smoking, I’d have ‘x’ amount of money extra a month so I could, those nights I had to stay in, I’d be able to go out. Or you know, you know, the old, the old chestnut, you know, if you give up smoking put the money aside and get yourself something nice. I thought, you know, I could save up and get, I don’t know, an iPod or something like that, back then. And, then I looked at it, and I thought God almighty how much is this costing me, and that coupled with the fact that I wasn’t really enjoying it any more. I was just going through the process of doing it, I think was enough to, to, you know, for me just to kick it in the head.
 

Andy went ‘cold turkey’ and took three days off work. He thought fighting the routine as well as his desire for cigarettes would be too much.

Andy went ‘cold turkey’ and took three days off work. He thought fighting the routine as well as his desire for cigarettes would be too much.

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I just gave up. I just went cold turkey. People, you know, people go through the whole shebang, they have the patches, the gum, they do, they do everything. And I suppose that’s to deaden the cravings. To make the cravings less. You’re still got to have will power, you’re still got to fight the cravings. But the cravings will be less. You know, less difficult, I guess.

But for me, the way I saw it, is having nicotine patches and continuing nicotine therapy, while it might make those cravings much easier to deal with, it means you’re going to have the cravings for a longer period of time. I think. I mean I don’t, I don’t know this for a fact. This is just how I read, how I read the situation. Because I remain I remember reading that, and again I don’t know how true this is, I remember reading that effectively the nicotine leaves your body in the space of 72 hours or something like that. And once that’s happened, it’s basically just a psychological thing. It’s just a… because the physical cravings are no longer, no longer there, because you’ve processed all the nicotine out of your body. And from that point onwards it’s just the habit, it’s the routine, which is just as hard to shake. And again, I don’t know if that’s fully true, that’s just something I read and that’s something that I stuck by when I decided to give up. Because I figured that if I decided to go on the whole process of nicotine replacement therapy then I would make it, it would make it last longer. It would make the situation just go on longer, and longer and longer and I wanted a, I wanted it to be over as quickly as humanly possible. I wanted to just get rid of the just get it out of my system and get it fundamentally dealt with as quickly as I could.

And so for me what I did, I had three days off work and I think I just had them off work for whatever reason. I think it was just using up some holiday, using up some leave. And I just decided to myself, right, here’s a perfect opportunity. I’m not at work. I worked in a job where you could have a smoke on the job while you, while you’re going round and it was very easy, if you were having a stressful day, have a smoke, and it was, it was, a good way of, of passing the day. But I, I decided three days off work, basically I’m just not going to anybody. I’m going to lock myself into the house. Not go out. Not do anything and just ride out all the horrible cravings. All the nastiness, all the, the bad tempers and, and, and all of that. Ride as much of that out as I possibly could at home, get all that out my system and then three days later, theoretically speaking, if what I’ve read is true, I should be able to then go out and it would be a habit thing, and then I can deal with the two things separately.

Because I don’t think if I’d gone out at work doing routine things, shaking the routine of smoking, fighting the routine as well as fighting the cravings, I think would have been too difficult. It would have been taking on too much at the same I think. So I kind of did it one at a time. And that worked. And I think the first three days were just the worst, they’re absolute hell, and you know, I never want to put anybody giving up smoking, but I think most people have tried it and they know how difficult it is. But if you can get through those three days, and it is around three days. If you can get through that all of a sudden, it falls off a cliff and becomes so much easier. I mean it doesn’t become easy, of course. I’m not going to suggest it is easy, because it’s not. But it becomes an awful, awful lot easier once you’ve got kind of past that, you know, that get all the physical cravings out the way with. And it becomes easier.
 

Looking back Andy can see that giving up after 15 years of smoking has improved his health and lung capacity but it was not immediately apparent.

Looking back Andy can see that giving up after 15 years of smoking has improved his health and lung capacity but it was not immediately apparent.

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Is one of these funny things, that whenever, whenever you say you’ve given up smoking to somebody I often find its non smokers that say this, they’re saying, “Oh don’t you feel better in yourself?” And it’s like, well no, no, not really [laughs]. My wallet feels a bit better, but other than that I never really sort of noticed any difference. I think because possibly because it was a gradual thing. I think I did notice going, I’d be less, slightly less out of breath going upstairs perhaps but I didn’t feel any sort of sense of well being necessarily. But I definitely know it now, since I’ve, you know, I’ve given up for a long time. Sort of intermittent bits of exercise here and there were a lot easier in… When it’s cold outside as well, that’s another thing, a positive impact you notice. Your chest doesn’t hurt as much breathing in, because you notice the cold air when you breathe in as a smoker, you feel it on your lungs, on your chest, and that’s much less so. In fact it doesn’t, it doesn’t really happen now and I think it was , and that’s, that’s a massive positive effect. And as well, the cold thing as well. I think I still, I think I still do get the odd, the odd chesty cold might hang around a little bit longer than may be normally it would if I hadn’t smoked, spent about fifteen years smoking, I suspect. But, but it’s nowhere near as pronounced as it was when I was smoking. And it was ultimately, you know, it is a positive thing.
 

Andy said it’s important to know why you are trying to quit smoking and to break the task down into achievable goals.

Andy said it’s important to know why you are trying to quit smoking and to break the task down into achievable goals.

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For me the best way of looking at it, is to look at the reasons why you want to give up, because I think for me, that really was the key issue for me, look at the reasons why you want to give up. If you want to, if you’re just doing it because you feel like you should then I think you’ve got a battle in front of you. I don’t think, it doesn’t make it impossible. But I think it makes it a bit more of battle. But if you want to, if you really want to give up, look at the reasons you want to give up and prioritise those. Look at the specific reasons, whether it’s your health, whether it’s the financial aspect of it. Whether it’s, you know, whether it’s whatever, and there are thousands of good reasons to give up smoking.

And to always keep them at the forefront of your mind. And when it gets difficult even during the times when it’s tough, and it’s annoying and its hell on earth, put those reasons, the reasons you’re giving up at the front of your mind and you know, quite often it’s just a matter of riding it out in weathering the storm. And, and I think as long as you know why you’re doing it, I think generally you’ll be fine. It’s, you know, the most ruddy difficult thing in the world to do, but I think, I think if you want to do it, you will. I think ultimately you’ll succeed, but you just need to tell yourself that, that I want to do it.

I’m doing it for the right reasons. I want to give up. And just be determined to beat it. Make a goal, make it a challenge. Don’t just do off the. You know, don’t just sort of take it off the back of a whim. Sit down and make it a determined goal for yourself. And break it down into little battles as well, like I said. Break it down into the first battle, get rid of the physical cravings that will last a few days, three or four days may be at tops. Deal with those cravings, then deal with the... all the other little things, the routine, the cigarette you have after dinner. The cigarette you have when you’re on the way to the post office. The cigarette. All of those things. Deal with them one by one, break it down into little battles and the first, the original battles, the first battles are the most difficult and every battle that you ever have after that becomes so much easier. It gets to the point when you don’t even think about it anymore. And you suddenly say to yourself and think actually how long ago was it I gave up smoking. You suddenly realise. Instead of counting the minutes and hours that you were at the beginning you suddenly realise that months have passed and you have just stopped counting.
 

Andy’s doctor asked about his smoking when he went with other issues. He was offered help with giving up but he wanted to do it on his own.

Andy’s doctor asked about his smoking when he went with other issues. He was offered help with giving up but he wanted to do it on his own.

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And so have you ever discussed smoking with your doctor?

No I never did. I mean I remember, not to any degree. I think I remember going in once with another complaint and he just asked me a couple of routine questions, things like you know, are you smoking, do you smoke? And I think I remember at one point saying, “oh yes, I do x’ amount a day.” And I remember him saying, “Do you want to quit. There are, you know, we can help you quit.” At the time I think I just said, ”No. it’s all right. Don’t worry.” I think I would have been relatively young at the time. I would have been in my teens I think at that point.

But I think, funnily enough, the next time I went to the doctors, it was actually in my ultimately failed attempts to give up. So he then said to me, “You know, do you smoke?” I said, “No I used to but I don’t anymore.” Even if it was about the third day, it probably was I had given up and which I wasn’t really failed. And I remember then going back, the next time I went to the doctors was a few years later and I was back into smoking quite heavily by then, and the doctor was saying, running through my, my file, he said, blah, blah, ex smoker, this that and the other. I thought you might have to update that actually, because I’m not an ex smoker any more. And again he just went through the whole process of, you know, asking me if there is any help that you want to get giving up and things like that, and I just, I think again I just dismissed it. Primarily because I always thought, which ultimately proved to be the case that I thought that if I ever wanted to give up I think I would be able to, and be capable of doing it on my own two feet and I think I would rather have done it that way.
 

Andy remembered ‘kidding himself’ about wanting to give up smoking when he still enjoyed it.

Andy remembered ‘kidding himself’ about wanting to give up smoking when he still enjoyed it.

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Everybody’s about to give up, and I was just the same, and I wish I, I knew I was kind of kidding myself, I knew, I knew I was kind of kidding myself to a degree, I knew I was just saying, I’m giving up for the sake of it, because everybody knows you should really. But then there were also times as well, when times when I actually restarted resmoking. I remember one time specifically actually. I made a conscious decision to start smoking again. It might have been, it probably was on a night out, but I went do you know what? To hell with it, I’m going to carry on smoking. I can afford to. I’ve got a bit of money at the moment and I want to. I’d given up for quite a long time at that point I think, and I thought, do you know what I’m going to start smoking again. I enjoy smoking. And I miss smoking. I’m going to go to the shop and get me some fags. And I enjoyed it, and I did, and I went back and I started smoking again. I mean the first couple of smokes were horrible and I led myself to doubt myself briefly while I was while I was, I was shall I be doing this, like, but having given up and started again so many times, I just knew that this’ll pass and I’ll be enjoying it within a, you know, with a couple of hours. And that was, and that for me I think is my philosophy on smoking. Is that I genuinely believe that if you really want to give up. If you have, for whatever reason, there are a thousand reasons to want to give up. I think if you’ve got a proper reason and you really genuinely want to give up, I think you will. I think it’s something I’ve always thought, in my, all of my experiences that every time I’ve tried to give up and failed, it’s because my heart wasn’t really in it. I didn’t really want to give up. I was just saying you know, I was paying lip service to the idea of giving up because it’s expensive, because it’s anti social, because it’s, you know, massively dangerous, you know, and will kill you. And by the time, you know, I actually sort of genuinely gave up, it’s because I just thought, do you know what I really want to do it this time. And, it didn’t make easier of course, but I think it just, having the determination to do it. And I think that’s why I failed so many times. And I think that’s why every time people fail to give up smoking. It’s not because they’re weak willed and it’s not because they’re doing the wrong thing or they’re doing anything wrong. I think it’s just because in their heart of hearts they don’t actually really want to give up. I know that was definitely case with me. And I think the moment that night out where I said to myself, do you know what I’m going to start smoking again. I think that for me was a key. That was when I realised that actually the reason I’d failed so many times is because I still enjoyed it. I still really enjoyed going out and having the cigarettes and I missed it, and I missed it loads and for me that was a yes, that was a bit of turning point in terms of, at least then later on, I knew full well that when I when I would give up, I thought all I need to do is actually want to, and want to give up and then crucially once I’d given up, want to stay off the fags as well and want to not go back to it.
 

At high school Andy and his mates all smoked cigarettes, but unlike some of the other groups at school they did not really go to pubs.

At high school Andy and his mates all smoked cigarettes, but unlike some of the other groups at school they did not really go to pubs.

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And you know, I suddenly found myself three or four years later, still smoking, and obviously completely addicted by that stage, as I probably was after about two weeks. And it was, I don’t know, it actually became quite a big part of our group ethic. A lot of what we did when we were teenagers. Especially when some of our mates were going to the pub, we never really did that, we’d just go off different places and have a fag on a hill top somewhere and then go somewhere else for a cigarette.

And it was quite defining as to what we did. Which is a bit weird really, but it was, I don’t know, I guess that one of those things where people say it’s a social thing isn’t it? But that’s kind of how I got into it and that’s how I sort of maintained smoking for such a long time.

Tell me some more about that. How it defined what you did?

Well I mean, a good example of that, actually, is when we used to go to a Little Chef, there’s a Little Chef on the A420 between Oxford and Swindon, and you can, this is back in the days when you could smoke in places, and you’d go, we’d go and sit down, order a pot of tea, because they were free refills. So we’d order a pot of tea and just sit there for the entire afternoon or the entire evening, smoking, and having smokes and having tabs we called them.

And then we, I don’t know we were always, always quite precious about what kind of brands. Everybody had their own specific brands, but you know, they were, they were sort of the cool brands that we always wanted to have. But then, you know, ultimately it’s just down to price in the end of the day, when you’re sort of 16, 17 years old. But it was I don’t know, it literally, it literally defined what we do of an evening. It’s where we would go. I mean to be honest with you, it’s just about having a chat with your mates more than anything else. Same, same as you do in a coffee shop or in a pub or in you know, when you’re walking down the street. But we were just doing by, well we’ll find somewhere nice to go and have a smoke.

And we, we did that for a really long time. But it saved us loads of cash, because all our mates were spending all their money on booze down the pub. And we were just going backwards and forwards having cups of tea here and there and smoking cigarettes. But it was and I think after a while that actually, that’s probably why I associated smoking for such a long time, what I actually really enjoyed, smoking, the process of smoking, having a smoke. Whether it’s just popping out with, popping outside with somebody to have a fag or whether it was just a matter of you know, I’m a bit bored, what shall I do? I’m going to pop outside for a fag. Or you know… have a beer, have a cup of tea. Watch a film, and have a couple of cigarettes and you know, I think, you know, some people who just smoke do, just smoke through the routine out of it, just because they’re addicted to it and it’s just something they do. But I think we, I mean myself as well, me and all my friends, we just really enjoyed it. And it became, it became, yes, it became a driving force [laughs]. It was, it was really strange really.
 

As a teenager Andy smoked Lucky Strike – he’d heard that every so often a packet would include a cigarette with cannabis.

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As a teenager Andy smoked Lucky Strike – he’d heard that every so often a packet would include a cigarette with cannabis.

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I think we just always ended up I think you, you know, you just stick to a particular brand and I don’t know you kind of associate that brand with you know, I smoke these, he smokes them, whatever, and I guess that’s just as you say, just something that marketing people put in our heads. We probably unconsciously do it about everything, not just cigarettes, but we but particularly, particularly the brand that we chose, kind of like a defining brand. I think we, I think we were quite pleased with it, because it was, because nobody else smoked it, and it’s actually quite rare as well.

So what was that in the end?

It was Lucky, it was Lucky Strike. And because they were quite rare, well particularly when we first started, well sort of when we were about 16, 17 years old, and you could only get them in a few places. You couldn’t get them anywhere in the town we grew up in, so we’d have to go to [Place name]. Or when we were in [Place name], oh get to that place that does Lucky Strike. And it was like a treat.

Actually as well there was a, one of the other reasons as well, was that there was a rumour, possibly started by one of the mates, I don’t know, or it’s possibly something they read or heard or a friend of a friend told them, you know, that kind of… sort of tenuous link, but there was a rumour that every millionth pack or every millionth cigarette they made had cannabis in it. And so, on the streets of, you know, on the High Streets of, of the United Kingdom every millionth Lucky Strike was a joint, and so it became, you know, we bought these on just on the odd chance we might get the one with the joint in it. I don’t know, I can’t remember if I actually believed that or not. Because it’s obviously not true, but that was, I remember talking about that quite long and hard when we were first getting Lucky Strikes, but I hope I didn’t believe it. But it would be funny if I did.
 

When Andy first gave up smoking, he avoided going to the pub but then tested himself by trying not to smoke there.

When Andy first gave up smoking, he avoided going to the pub but then tested himself by trying not to smoke there.

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And then you get to the point where, you know, all of a sudden you’re not ticking off the hours, you’re ticking off the days and then you’re ticking off the weeks. And, I think that for me is the, that’s when it started becoming something in the back of your head, instead of it being something that over, you know, that occupies your every waking thought. It was just something that you could start ignoring. It was just something I quite fancy a cigarette rather than I really need a smoke. I quite fancy a cigarette. And it would get more and more in the background in your head and rather than going away completely it just became easier to ignore, and you get to the point where you suddenly realise that you’re sort of two months down the line. You might still fancy a cigarette, you’d still be in a situation where you would, you can just go oh well that’ll pass. I’ve dealt with hundreds of these, ten, you know, a thousand time worse than that I can deal with it.

Of course there are others ones as well when you’re giving up. The difficult situations, like the first time you go to the pub, the first time you go to the pub and start drinking. You know, it doesn’t matter how many…. you know, I think for me it was probably about a week giving up. Because I tried to avoid the situation. And I got to the point where I just couldn’t avoid it any more. So I ended up going to the pub and I thought, well this’ll be a test. And [laughs] I think I just drank an awful lot that night [laughs]. I think instead of having a cigarette I would just drink more beer. Every time I fancied a smoke, I’d just drink more beer, and I think I got through an awful lot of beer. But there isn’t, you know, there are worse things to do with your time. But I think that’s probably how I dealt with it. I think I also ate a lot more when I gave up. I think that’s probably fairly typical as well.
 

Andy associated things like bad breath and yellow teeth with smoking as well as more serious smoking related illnesses.

Andy associated things like bad breath and yellow teeth with smoking as well as more serious smoking related illnesses.

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What sort of risks would you think of when you thought about health risks?

I mean, I mean how the health risks is associated with smoking is as long as your arm aren’t you? I mean you’ve got lung cancer, coronary heart disease are obviously the two biggest things, but emphysema and all kinds of things. But I mean it’s not just is that. It’s cosmetic things as well. It ages the skin and it’s just…

And other things as well. I mean just social things. It makes, it colours your teeth. And it makes your breath smell bad. It makes, you know, it makes things, you know, your general fitness levels fall through the floor. But for me, I mean, always, always the biggest things I associated with smoking were always old people, I think. Old people in bed wheezing away, coughing up their lungs or whatever.
 

Andy started to realise that he was getting ‘chesty coughs’ after colds, and this eventually moved him to give up smoking.

Andy started to realise that he was getting ‘chesty coughs’ after colds, and this eventually moved him to give up smoking.

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I mean it was, because I used to be quite young, sporty and you know, athletic. I stopped doing stuff like this, I got lazy, but I suddenly, things were, things were more difficult to do, like going out playing a long game of football. Things like that. You know, or getting a cold. That was always the worst one. You get a cold and you always end up with a, every single, it doesn’t matter what kind of cold it was, you’d end up, I’d end up with a cough. A horrible, chesty cough, where you’re hacking up horrible gunk. And after the cold had cleared, even for a few, you know, even for probably a week, two weeks, sometimes longer than that, the cough would be there still. And it wasn’t sort like a proper smoker’s cough. I never had that sort of wheezing at 6 o’clock in the morning every single morning. It was only ever sort of just after I’d a cold. But it made colds more difficult to shift, because they lasted longer than I think they normally would, because they hang around because my lungs were clapped out, [laughs] effectively. And I think it was, that was one of the things that really annoyed me.

And I think I realised that probably within sort of a year or so, a year prior to me giving up, I suddenly realised, wait a minute. I always get, I just thought, initially I put it down to bad luck, initially I thought I’m just having, you know, I’m just getting a lot of chesty colds at the moment. But I don’t think it was that realistically. It was because my, you know, I’d been smoking for such a long time. And I think that was a crucial aspect of it. But I think it was a matter of, all of those things put into one, you know, the, the health aspects, the cost aspects and that with the catalyst of, of me suddenly realising that I found myself completely and utterly enslaved to it. I think all of those things conspired together all in one go, came together and that was the moment that I just thought to myself, do you know what, that’s it. That’s time. I’m going to pack this in. Which I eventually did.
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