I’m so pleased I managed to quit, as I feel much healthier and I’m enjoying spending time with my two sons.
Danielle Woolfenden, from Bury, started smoking when she started high school to fit in with her peers and thought she would stop when she grew up. Unfortunately, the addiction took hold and Danielle continued smoking, only stopping during both her pregnancies even though she suffered with tonsillitis on a regular basis.
In December 2019, Danielle suffered with a serious bout of tonsillitis and ended up in hospital again for treatment. She was advised to have her tonsils removed and underwent the operation in February 2020. Danielle suffered complications post-surgery and was unable to eat and smoke for two and a half weeks, which resulted in her finally quitting for good.
Danielle, 29, said: “I started smoking when I was around 12 or 13, during my first year of high school as everyone smoked and there was the pressure to join in. At the time, I thought I was cool and that I would stop after a while as I didn’t want to be grown-up who smoked. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen as I became addicted and started smoking more until I was smoking 20 cigarettes a day.
“Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I suffered with tonsillitis every couple of months, and it progressively got worse. Each time I was really poorly as it totally wiped me out and I ended up in hospital. When I was 18 I was advised to have my tonsils out but I didn’t listen. I remember going outside with my drip stand to smoke, even though I knew smoking was impacting my health. I did want to stop, but I couldn’t – I always kept coming up with excuses.
“No-one in my family smokes, so my Mum and sister tried to get me to quit several times as they were worried about my health. The only time I managed to stop was while I was pregnant with my two sons. I quit during both pregnancies as I was aware of the risks to my sons, and I wanted to make sure they had the healthiest start to life possible. However, as soon as they were born, I started smoking again.”
The mum of two, who is a Partner Relations Manager for an Energy company, has now been smokefree for over a year after deciding to quit following post-surgery complications from having her tonsils removed.
“I ended up really poorly again with tonsillitis at Christmas 2019, and finally agreed to have my tonsils removed. I had the operation in February 2020, and it went well but then everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I remember being told that recovery might take a little while as I had been really poorly, so initially when I was discharged, I thought the pain I was in was normal. What I didn’t realise was that my wounds were infected and one night while I was sitting in bed, they split open, and my mouth filled with blood.
“I was rushed to hospital by ambulance, and it took a while for them to stabilise me, as I lost a litre of blood. It was horrible, I was in agony. I couldn’t eat properly for over two weeks, and I couldn’t even face smoking. When I realised, I hadn’t had a cigarette for two and a half weeks, I thought this is my chance to quit for good and I haven’t looked back.
“However, there have been times when I have missed smoking. As I had set times when I smoked, such as just before the boys went to bed, I would pop outside for two minutes and have a quick cigarette. I saw it as a little break, so I’ve had to find other things to do during these times.”
My advice to anyone who is considering giving quitting a go, don’t put if off any longer. You can do it, so find a way to quit that will work for you. If you don’t succeed at first, don’t worry – keep going and try again.
To help keep her motivated to quit, Danielle downloaded the Smoke Free app and found it incredibly helpful to deal with her cravings. When she was tempted to reach for a cigarette, she looked at the app to see how much her health had improved and how much money she had saved.
“I decided to download the Smoke Free app as knew I needed something to help me stay motivated. The app made a massive difference as I loved all the information on it – from the health facts to inspirational messages to seeing how much money I have saved. So far, I have saved over £3,500 and I’ve treated myself to new dining room and bedroom furniture which I wouldn’t have been able to afford to buy.
“I’m so pleased I managed to quit, as I feel much healthier and I’m enjoying spending time with my two sons. My advice to anyone who is considering giving quitting a go, don’t put if off any longer. You can do it, so find a way to quit that will work for you. If you don’t succeed at first, don’t worry – keep going and try again. If I can quit, so can you.”
Visit Local Services to find details of stop smoking services and support across all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester or call the NHS Stop Smoking helpline free on 0300 123 1044
Greater Manchester residents can also get six months’ free access to the Smoke Free app – usually worth £60 – when they sign up at www.smokefreeapp.com/GM (T&Cs apply).