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Blodwen

Age at interview: 55
Brief Outline: Blodwen, 55, gave up smoking a few months ago. Blodwen is White Welsh, works in the criminal justice system and lives by herself. She started smoking when she was about 18-19 but later gave up for several years. She started smoking again after going back to work. She later gave up after a brief illness and for financial reasons and says it was quite easy to give up.

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Blodwen started smoking when she was about 18-19 and says it was just ‘social smoking’. She smoked because it was cool and mainly used to smoke only when she went out for a drink. Her husband stopped smoking shortly after they met but Blodwen stopped only when she was pregnant. She didn’t smoke for ‘many, many years’ after that. She started again when she went back to work full time. At work she says there was a ‘smoking environment’ and a lot of women smoked. She can’t ‘really make sense of it’ now, but found at the time that smoking was a ‘de-stresser’. She thinks that any cravings she had were psychological and not physical. Blodwen found that she used to plan her day around smoking, and smoke between appointments in the car even after the smoking ban was in place. She felt that this was part of the addiction. Although she smoked in many places, she said she wouldn’t smoke in the street and that her mother didn’t know that she smoked. She smoked menthol cigarettes as she didn’t like ‘normal’ cigarettes. Blodwen never felt physically unwell from smoking and used to go running regularly. She doesn’t think that her health came into her decision to stop as much as financial considerations did, and that she just didn’t feel a ‘need’ for it [smoking] over time.

When Blodwen gave up she had been ill for a couple of weeks and hadn’t felt like smoking. Then she went to the chemist who said that she could ‘do it’ and didn’t need the patches but the nicotine replacement gum and the inhalator instead. She thinks it was the gum that helped her the most, and chewed it so much that her jaw ached. Blodwen didn’t think that she needed to go to a smoking cessation group; she had previously ended up not smoking at work in any case as it was a no-smoking building and she didn’t like going outside to have a cigarette. She didn’t like the ban on smoking in public places at the time, but in hindsight she thinks it was a good thing. She didn’t want to smoke in front of clients and also felt she was ‘ready’ to quit. She is glad she has given up but says she doesn’t feel any healthier for it and doesn’t feel any different. She hasn’t put on any weight but is glad she doesn’t ‘stink of cigarettes’. She does find that she is critical of other people who smoke now, and she knows that she ‘won’t smoke again’ as she has ‘made that decision’. Blodwen has worked with people with alcohol addiction and she says that what ‘gets’ people the most is that they aren’t aware of how much money they spend. She was surprised by how much more money she had in her own purse at the end of the week when she had stopped. She realises how much she is able to save now and is able to go on two holidays a year rather than one. She quit at the same time as a friend, and in retrospect she thinks that this has helped her. She thinks that a lot of people at work have given up too, and she has little ‘tests’ for herself like not smoking when her friends come around. Not smoking has just got ‘easier’ and isn’t something that ‘enters her head’ now.
 
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Blodwen’s friend was giving up around the same time, and that made it easier for her.[TEXT ONLY]

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What I noticed initially was how much more money I had in my purse at the end of the week, whereas you know, maybe it would have gone on cigarettes. I’d think oh I’ve still got that twenty pounds. It’s in my purse. So of course, you know, you think oh yes, you know, so that can go towards a holiday, that can go towards some new clothes or, or whatever isn’t it? So yes, that was the real incentive for me. And I think as well, which has made it easier that you know, like my friend [name], she was a heavy smoker and because she’s, we’ve almost done it together, that you know, it’s been so much easier, because you know, we spend a lot of time together and if she was smoking I think I would, oh go on I’ll have one. You know, it would be so much easier.

So, yeah, it’s about… it’s also about having support isn’t it? You know. Not that I’ve thought about it like that. But yeah, if she was still smoking, I think maybe I could have lapsed or relapsed really into you know, going, yes….
 
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Blodwen felt physically fit when she was a smoker but the cost motivated her to stop. She asked herself why she smoked and realised she had no need to.[TEXT ONLY]

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Why do you think you were ready at that time? Why did you want to give up then?

Why did I want to give up? Again, going back to the, you know, the cost, and it’s a terrible thing to say really, because you know I preach at work, it’s although health and stuff like that. But it is. Because I didn’t sort of cough, and I didn’t get out of breath. I didn’t physically feel you know. Because I used to go running and stuff and I used to have a fag at the end of it, you know, which is ridiculous. Really when you think about it. So yes. I don’t think…I don’t think that health came into it as much as, which is, which is a bit silly isn’t it? But personally I don’t think it did. Which is should have done, but, but there we go isn’t it?

So would you say it was more of a sort of financial situation or …?

Yes, yes, and like I say I was ready to. I was questioning well why, why am I smoking? Why am I doing this isn’t it? You know, there’s no need for it. There’s no need, you know. I don’t need that little. It’s almost like a little crutch isn’t it, and you don’t… Yes.
 
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Looking back, Blodwen felt that the smoking ban was good but she had disliked it at the time. [TEXT ONLY]

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Years and years ago, we used to smoke in the kitchen [at work] you see. So, you know, stuff like that has changed hasn’t it. Which helps in a way.

Would you have said that the time. What did you think about that kind of legislation?

I didn’t like it at the time. I didn’t like it at the time. Because it was almost sort of like forcing you isn’t it? But yes. In hindsight obviously it’s a good thing. So I suppose it’s a bit, just a bit of everything. It’s only now that I’m actually thinking about it, with talking about it. You know, the gradual thing. It’s only now that I’m actually thinking about it, with talking about it. You know, the gradual thing that, that yes, with a little assistance from yes, legislation. That’s one isn’t it? Something being, you know, not being able to smoke in the building. Not being able to smoke inside the pub. And I remember God, no, I’m not going outside for a fag, it’s too blooming cold out there.

You know, so its stuff like I suppose that makes, makes a difference, and then, you know, realising, well yes, I’ve got, I’ve got so many left now, I haven’t smoked as much. But it was the illness thing that actually was the crunch. That was, you know, that’s what did it for me, and because I was ready to I suppose. I was ready to yes.
 
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Blodwen helped people with alcohol problems become aware of what they were spending. Calculating how much she spent on cigarettes gave her an incentive to quit. [TEXT ONLY]

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And then of course, you know, the cost. Because, it’s strange, you know, I’ve thought about this, and like with work with the alcohol, and you know, people keeping diaries and stuff like this and you add the cost column and that’s the one that makes the biggest difference of all. That people realise, my God. Did I spend that much on cigarettes? Did I spend that much on drink? And then of course, you know, it gives you that bit of an oomph then to, to sort of, you know, continue as, as you have been really. But yes. So I’m not much of case history to be honest with you.

Well tell me about that, when did you notice at the time? Did you only notice it afterwards? How did it work?

I noticed it at the time, yes, I have, you know, I definitely am able to save and, and I’m a lot more sort of conscious of it now, you know, I…What I noticed initially was how much more money I had in my purse at the end of the week, whereas you know, maybe it would have gone on cigarettes. I’d think oh I’ve still got that twenty pounds. It’s in my purse. So of course, you know, you think oh yes, you know, so that can go towards a holiday, that can go towards some new clothes or, or whatever isn’t it? So yes, that was the real incentive for me.
 
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After falling ill with cellulitis and temporarily not wanting to smoke, Blodwen went to the chemist to ask about products to help her quit.[TEXT ONLY]

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I just became ill. As I said it sort of, yes, I became ill. I had cellulitis and I felt terrible. I was in bed for about a couple of weeks. And I just couldn’t, I didn’t go out, so I didn’t have any cigarettes, and I didn’t feel the need for a cigarette. And then I think in that, in that meantime, my friend had sort of said, “Well yes, I’m giving up as well.” So that again, well yes, I don’t need to restart again.

So, on that I went to the chemist and because I hadn’t smoked for a fortnight. They sort of encouraged me and said, “Yes, you can do it. Because, you know, like just carry on. You just don’t, you don’t need patches. You know, just to have the chewing gums and the inhalator.” and basically it was the chewing gums that did it for me, more than anything else. So...
 
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Blodwen had a chewing gum whenever she would usually have had a cigarette – for example with morning coffee.[TEXT ONLY]

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And basically it was the chewing gums that did it for me, more than anything else. So...

What were they like for you?

Okay, yes. I’ve, you know, I was chewing a lot [laughs]. You know, my jaws were a bit , but no I actually got to the point with work, when I was again, thinking about it, where I wasn’t smoking during the day. So I’d cut that down, you see. I’d have, I’d have about three before going to work in the morning. And then I wouldn’t have one unless I was going somewhere in the car, like I say, and then, you know, but if I was just at my base all day I wouldn’t have one until I came home at night.
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