Emma’s story

Emma, 28, from Hull, used to smoke up to 25 cigarettes a day but has been smoke-free for more than three months (as of August 2020)

Emma started smoking when she was 12 years old, and by the time she reached her late 20s she was smoking 15-25 cigarettes a day. Like all 12-year-olds, Emma wanted to fit in with her friends at school, and do what all the ‘cool kids’ were doing. 

Emma enjoyed smoking, and it had now become part of her daily routine. Even knowing the health risks of smoking didn’t outweigh her desire for a cigarette. 

But everything changed when Emma found out she was pregnant, she finally had the incentive to change her lifestyle, and she wanted to do everything she could to protect her unborn child. This was all Emma needed to finally seek help and start her smoke-free journey. 

Emma received a visit from her midwife and they discussed her smoking. She was shocked to hear about the dangers she was putting her unborn child in by smoking. Her midwife talked her through her options and she was then referred to the Smokefree Hull service for support. 

At Emma’s first appointment she was introduced to Mhairi, her Smokefree Specialist, and they discussed the different nicotine replacement options that she could use to help her stop smoking. She was grateful to hear all of the different support available and the choice of treatment that could be tailored to her own needs. 

Emma decided to start on the nicotine patches for the first eight weeks, and she also received weekly telephone calls from Mhairi for behavioural support. Emma knew that if the patches didn’t work she could discuss other alternatives with Mhairi.  

During the course of her treatment Emma still experienced cravings, but she always found drinking water helpful and soon the cravings would pass. Before becoming pregnant, Emma had always lead an active lifestyle, but as her pregnancy developed she now found she wasn’t able to move as much as she did before. But she soon discovered that reading or cleaning helped her to ignore her craving for a cigarette.

Emma soon realised that the benefits of stopping smoking far outweighed having another cigarette. She always enjoyed having an Indian takeaway on a weekend and since she stopped smoking her sense of smell and taste grew, and she could actually taste the spices! She could also feel her chest clearing and she felt a lot better in herself - this alone proved she was doing what was best for her and her baby’s health. 

However her biggest improvement since stopping smoking was the savings that she was able to make. With planning for a baby, she knew she’d need as much extra money as possible to get everything she needed. Stopping smoking allowed her to prepare properly to start a family. She used to spend £70 to 80 a week on cigarettes, now Emma spends that money on buying the things she needs for her baby, which will mean a world of difference when her child is born.

Emma now wants her child to grow up in a smoke-free home. Her partner still smokes, but she’s encouraged him to give up and use the Smokefree Hull service to quit too. By creating a smoke-free home, this will give their unborn child the best start in life.

Emma really valued the service she received from Smokefree Hull, to know someone was at the end of the phone, if she was struggling, was very important to her. That kind of support was essential in such an overwhelming time in her life. 

Emma’s now finished her 12-week treatment, and feels fantastic! Now that she’s smoke-free and living a healthier lifestyle, she’s able to focus on her baby more. Emma’s child will be born in October, and she’s so grateful to the Smokefree Hull service, to enable her to create a healthier environment for their daughter.

Emma said: “I found out I was pregnant in January and this made me see sense. I have to consider my own heath, but also the health of my baby now. I feel I am held more accountable now.

“I find I can smell and taste better, and when I get an Indian takeaway I can actually taste the spice now! I can also feel my chest clearing and I feel a lot better in myself generally.

“When I was smoking, my cigarettes would cost me £70/80 a week, whereas now I can spend that money on buying the things I need for the baby.

“My partner still smokes, but I’m trying to encourage him to give up like I did. I want our home to be smoke-free for the baby, so at the moment he’s only allowed to smoke outside whilst he’s still smoking.

“Sometimes I would pick up a cigarette just because I was bored, which is hard during the current circumstances, but if I can manage to quit, amongst Covid-19 and whilst pregnant, you can do it too!”

Smokefree Hull
Call (or text): 01482 977617
Website: SmokeFree Hull

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