Aleksandra’s story – Make Smoking History

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Aleksandra’s story

It is very different when you have someone checking on you, and keeping an eye on you, so I felt confident in making a quit attempt.

Aleksandra Wanat, 36, from Bury, started smoking due to peer pressure at the age of 18. Over the years she tried to quit several times but found herself relapsing.

When she discovered she was pregnant with her daughter, she knew it was time to stop smoking to protect her baby from the harms of smoking. Aleksandra remained smokefree for six months after Aniela was born until she stopped breastfeeding, then unfortunately she started again.

But after falling pregnant with her second child, Aleksandra was determined to stop smoking for good, and with the support of the maternity stop smoking service at Royal Bolton Hospital she has quit successfully and is now looking forward to a smokefree future with her family.

The full-time mum explained: “I stopped smoking when I was pregnant with my daughter, and for six months after Aniela was born when I was breastfeeding, but unfortunately I started again after that.”

“Then when I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I quit smoking as I knew it was the right thing to do. But I only lasted two-three months as I had a lot of problems with noisy neighbours, my mum had a stroke, I moved house, my aunt and uncle passed away all while I was dealing with a small baby. I found having just one cigarette each evening gave me a moment to myself and helped me de-stress.”

Aleksandra became increasingly worried about the impact her daily cigarette may be having on her baby, so she visited her GP, who suggested she try nicotine gum.

She said: “With the gum I was unsure of the dosage and I ended up not being able to use it due to an allergy, so I didn’t know what to do for the best.”

Aleksandra, who is originally from Poland, mentioned her concerns to her midwife during a routine hospital appointment. She was grateful to be told about the support she was able to access through a specialist stop smoking service.

With a 22-month-old and a new baby due in just a few weeks, Aleksandra is happily smokefree after being referred to the specialist maternity stop smoking service at Royal Bolton Hospital, through which she was offered a vape as an alternative, less harmful source of nicotine to help manage cravings, and started monitoring her carbon monoxide (CO) levels at home. This is important as raised carbon monoxide levels can be dangerous to both mum and baby. Breathing in carbon monoxide can slow a baby’s development and increase the risk of birth defects. Over time, Aleksandra was able to reduce the amount of nicotine she used in her vape as her cravings and dependency reduced.

She said: “It was so good, because it wasn’t just about the vape. It is very different when you have someone checking on you, and keeping an eye on you, so I felt confident in making a quit attempt.

“The worst thing for me about smoking wasn’t the smell, or the money I was spending on it, but the guilt. As a mum, I felt judged as smoking while pregnant is very bad.

“I’m glad I found the specialist stop smoking service, which helped me a lot, and this time, I’m hopeful I won’t smoke again.”

Having had the support of the Smokefree Pregnancy service, Aleksandra now feels more able to cope with whatever life throws her way without turning back to cigarettes and plans to keep on top of her CO monitoring for a full year after the birth of her new baby.

She added: “I think it’s important after you give up to be able to be around smoking and tobacco products and to not want to have a cigarette.

“I lost my vape two days ago and don’t mind if I never find it. I’m so happy now and there’s nothing I miss about smoking.”