It was different this time as I was in a totally different mindset. I had a bigger reason to quit, and I was determined not to fail.
Nikki Fenton, 40, from Chadderton in Oldham, quit smoking five years ago after coming out as transgender so she could start taking HRT medication before undergoing gender reassignment surgery. Through the support of her GP, Nikki successfully quit smoking by vaping and now feels healthier. She is sharing her story to encourage other people to give quitting a go.
My advice to anyone else considering quitting is give it a go and don’t worry if you relapse, it’s all part of the process. Just keep trying and find a quitting aid that works for you.
“I started smoking when I was still at school at around the age of 14 and it was down to peer pressure as all of my friends smoked. In the beginning, I was a light smoker but as I got older the amount of cigarettes I smoked per day gradually increased until I was smoking about 40 a day.
“I used to work in manufacturing, and I developed bronchiectasis from the fumes where I worked. I had a persistent cough and was often breathless. So, I decided to quit smoking to help my symptoms and I used a combination of patches, sprays and chewing gum. It took a few attempts, but I managed to stop for three years. Unfortunately, I relapsed after a night out, when I got drunk and I started smoking again.
“I did want to try to quit again, but it was even more difficult. I managed to cut down to 10 cigarettes a day and I made a pact with myself to stop smoking when they stopped selling 10-packs of cigarettes, as the cost of smoking was getting more and more expensive. This also coincided with me coming out as transgender. I was advised by my doctor to quit smoking before I started HRT medication to avoid the risk of blood clots ahead of my gender reassignment surgery.”
At such an important time in her life, Nikki was determined to quit this time. She knew from her previous experience it wasn’t going to be easy, so she sought advice from her GP. After considering different nicotine replacement therapies, Nikki chose to use a vape pen.
“It was different this time as I was in a totally different mindset. I had a bigger reason to quit, and I was determined not to fail. It still wasn’t easy as many of my friends smoke, but they were incredibly supportive as they knew how important it was for me to stop.
“I chose to vape as it simulates smoking and I knew from previous experience that I missed the action of smoking, and not having something in my hands. I managed to quit overnight, and I gradually reduced the strength of the vape liquid until I was using no nicotine.
“I now feel much healthier, and I have managed to save money, which is very helpful as I’m currently unemployed. I’m now supporting two of my friends who are trying to quit and my advice to anyone else considering quitting is give it a go and don’t worry if you relapse, it’s all part of the process. Just keep trying and find a quitting aid that works for you.”