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Lisa

Age at interview: 38
Brief Outline: Lisa, 38, gave up smoking when she was 26. Lisa is White British, is a full-time Mum and lives with her husband and two young children. She grew up in a smoking household and started smoking when she was a teenager. Lisa never really tried to give up smoking because she thought it would be hard, but then read the Allen Carr book and found it was the start of a whole other more healthy lifestyle.

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Lisa grew up in a smoking household with both parents smoking. She never thought she would smoke but after trying it as a teenager she went on to become a regular smoker of 20-25 a day. Lisa never made any serious attempt to stop smoking even though she would have liked to. She thought that stopping would have been too difficult and kept putting it off.

Lisa stopped smoking about 13 years ago when her friend gave her the Allen Carr ‘Easyway to Stop Smoking’ book. She said that by the end of the book she actually looked forward to stopping smoking and that she smoked whilst reading it as instructed. She says she can’t explain how the book works but that it is very supportive and interesting. She says that she just didn’t want to smoke anymore after reading the book. After stopping, Lisa felt an enormous sense of freedom, relief and accomplishment. Her partner finished reading the book before her and stopped smoking even though he had had no intention of stopping. Lisa found the tone of the book open and honest and found the stories from Allen’s own personal experiences helpful. She now wants her parents to read the book as they are both heavy smokers. Her father is currently recovering from two heart attacks.

Lisa used to suffer with regular chest infections but hasn’t had one since stopping smoking. She thinks that if she hadn’t stopped smoking her life would probably have been very different and she might not even have had children. She says that she has broken the family chain of addiction and hopes that her children will never want to smoke. Since reading the book she has no interest in cigarettes anymore. Lisa says that stopping smoking was probably the first big thing she did for herself, and it paved the way for many other health changes to her lifestyle, resulting in a period of study and her becoming a natural remedies health advisor.

Her message to smokers would be to ‘stop beating yourselves up!’ as it will only make you feel bad and add stress to your life. Lisa strongly recommends the Allen Carr book. ‘Just read it! Your have nothing to lose and so much to gain!’
 

Lisa’s Mum was “devastated” when she found out she smoked. Lisa later understood the “guilt and shame” of smoking by reading the Allen Carr book.

Lisa’s Mum was “devastated” when she found out she smoked. Lisa later understood the “guilt and shame” of smoking by reading the Allen Carr book.

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I can’t remember specific words but it was always understood that you shouldn’t start smoking and that they regretted it. Yeah. That they regretted it, but there was, I don’t know, they didn’t, they really didn’t want us to. It would have been devastating to them if we started and my mum was devastated when she found out that I’d started. And you kind of, and you feel guilty, but then you think, why am I feeling guilty because you smoked all my life? And you are a hypocrite you know, to do something and then tell your children not to, but that just shows how powerful the addiction is in your mind, because you still can’t stop, you can’t stop for your children, you can’t. You can only do it for yourself. But your children will really benefit if you do.

Can you remember when your Mum found out you smoked?

Yes. Oh. It was awful, and why did I feel so bad about it? When she’d been smoking all that time? Oh, see there’s a lot of negative feelings attached to smoking. There’s guilt, there’s shame, there’s just thinking that you’re rubbish because you can’t stop. But the book addresses all this. It addresses all these feelings and these conflicts that go around in your head and it explains what’s really happening. And you sort of think, oh no wonder I can’t stop. No wonder it’s so hard and it’s brilliant just to understand why it’s been such a struggle. Hm. And then it doesn’t have to be a struggle anymore once you’ve got the answers. It’s like being given the key to your prison cell and you know, you can’t get out, you just can’t get out and somebody just hands you the key and then you’re free and that’s it.
 

Looking back, Lisa realised that smoking had made her feel that exercise was rather pointless.

Looking back, Lisa realised that smoking had made her feel that exercise was rather pointless.

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Yeah, the relief, and when I look at, even now, twelve years later, and I’ll notice someone in the street who’s smoking and I just think, thank God I haven’t got to do that anymore. And I still feel it now. Oh. It’s amazing.

I probably didn’t do much exercise, however, because, when I was a smoker, because I just thought, what’s the point. I’m a smoker, you know, that’s the worse thing I can do to my body, or one of the worst things I can do to my body. Why try and be healthier and eat healthy and do exercise when I’m a smoker. What’s the point? So it made me, it had I don’t know, it had this ripple effect, it made me make bad choices in other areas of my life, kind of. You know, yeah.

Was it just about exercise or, how did it feel?

It’s just a mindset that you’re in. An unhealthy mindset in a way. Not a very nice place to be. So I’m glad not to be there anymore. Yeah.
 

Though Lisa didn’t intend to quit, when a friend lent her the Allen Carr book both she and her partner found it helped them to give up and become happy non-smokers.

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Though Lisa didn’t intend to quit, when a friend lent her the Allen Carr book both she and her partner found it helped them to give up and become happy non-smokers.

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I stopped smoking about, I think its twelve years ago. I didn’t actually intend to stop smoking when I did. A friend of mine had stopped, and she told me that she’d read this book and she’d been stopped for two weeks. She said, she’d lend me the book, and I was curious, but didn’t really have any plans to stop smoking and that was it, I read the book and I stopped. And it was the Allen Carr book.

And so you didn’t have any plans before then?

No. Well I would have liked to have stopped I think every smoker would like to stop, but just the thought of trying to do it and getting round to doing it, I kept putting it off and I think the idea of all that suffering and how hard it was going to be, I just put it off, so no I didn’t try.

So when you got the Allen Carr book. Can you tell me about that?

Well I just read it with an open mind, because I’d got nothing to lose. The funny thing was that my partner who was a very serious smoker, he picked it up and said, “Oh what’s this load of rubbish?” And I said, “Don’t read that. That’s mine. My friend’s given it to me to read.” And he, he started reading and we were sort of fighting over it. He finished the book before I did, and he stopped smoking and he was worse, he was much worse than me. Well I don’t know whether you can be a worse smoker than someone else, but yes, he stopped smoking and then I had to catch up and finish the book and stop smoking too. It was really strange. Really easy, yes.

Tell me about how it was easy?

Well I don’t know it’s just the way it’s written and the way it makes you feel by the end of the book you just don’t want to do it anymore. You don’t feel about it, you don’t, you don’t feel the same way about smoking as you did. It’s not something you can imagine before you read the book. You can’t imagine feeling any different about it. But you do. Yes, it was easy. And you’re kind of looking forward to stopping smoking by the end of the book. Because you have to smoke while you read. I remember going for a meal before I’d stopped smoking. And then a week, the week that I stopped, just after a few days of not smoking, I went to the same restaurant and had the same meal, and it tasted amazing. Just so much better. Already my, my taste buds, had I don’t know, woke up, recovered and yeah, instantly, it felt amazing, and really easy.

Can you remember about the book what you were reading that made it like this?

Some, well for some people I think it’s a specific light bulb moment, and you, but it wasn’t for me. It was quite subtle. It’s, I can’t explain it, because it’s, it’s very supportive the book is, and it’s unlike any, anything you’ve ever read. I can’t explain how it works. But it sort of undoes all the, the perception you have about smoking. You know, when you try and stop doing something, the conflict in your head. I want to do it. No you can’t. I want to do it. No you can’t. It takes that away, so then there’s no conflict anymore. And the difference between I think stopping smoking and using the book, and stopping smoking, just trying to stop using will power or whatever, you become a happy non smoker when you’ve read the book, because you’re just glad you don’t do it anymore. Whereas with other methods, I believe you’re craving still, you can be bit miserable, because you want to do this thing you don’t think you should be doing. And that’s the magic of the book, you really are free from it. Totally free, as if you’d never smoked. Which is amazing.
 

After stubbing out her last cigarette, Lisa felt a sense of freedom and relief. Later she started to do more exercise.

After stubbing out her last cigarette, Lisa felt a sense of freedom and relief. Later she started to do more exercise.

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Yes, well instantly. Instantly you feel free as you, as you stubbing out your last cigarette. The sense of accomplishment and freedom is wonderful and the relief. Just the biggest feeling is the relief that you haven’t got to do it anymore. Because it’s like being a slave. You have to do it. This pack of cigarettes. You have to at certain points during the day, go and have one. You have to find time for them. They’re quite demanding. And they don’t demand anything from you once you’ve stopped. I wouldn’t go to the cinema because a film that was two hours long, well I’d be thinking but I need to have a cigarette in the middle and you can see people nipping out between courses at a restaurant for a cigarette and they’re not relaxed. They think it’s relaxing them, but they’re not relaxing, because they’re rushing out to go and smoke.

Yeah, the relief, and when I look at, even now, twelve years later, and I’ll notice someone in the street who’s smoking and I just think, thank God I haven’t got to do that anymore. And I still feel it now. Oh. It’s amazing. I probably didn’t do much exercise, however, because, when I was a smoker, because I just thought, what’s the point. I’m a smoker, you know, that’s the worst thing I can do to my body, or one of the worst things I can do to my body. Why try and be healthier and eat healthy and do exercise when I’m a smoker. What’s the point? So it made me, it had I don’t know, it had this ripple effect, it made me make bad choices in other areas of my life, kind of. You know, yeah.
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