Sera Rifat, 48, from Bellingham, is the 15,000th person to quit with help from the Lewisham Stop Smoking Service. Sera has been smoke-free since 15th February, after quitting with the help of the Lewisham Stop Smoking Service:
“I had tried to quit three smoking times previously and I quickly got complacent, thinking it was fine to be a “social smoker”, which quickly turned into smoking my normal amount every day again!
“When my partner suddenly passed away last November, I started smoking a lot more, and went from having 20-25 cigarettes a day to 40 or more. My habit was getting out of hand and as my partner had always wanted me to quit smoking, I felt a determination then I hadn’t had before. So, just before Christmas, I attended the Lewisham Stop Smoking Clinic.
“It definitely wasn’t easy at first, but I was so determined to prove I could do it. First, I tried going to my GP, where I was offered one-to-one sessions with the practice nurse. That wasn’t for me, though – I felt really alone and I found it difficult.
“I decided if I wanted to be successful, I had to find a way to quit that suited me, so I chose to move to group sessions, which I attended once a fortnight. I could have gone every week but that was too much for me, mainly for health reasons which make it difficult to travel to group every week. I met some great people, and I still attend the group now even though I am nearly eight months smoke free.
“I think it is important to find a way of quitting which is right for you – it may be one-to-one sessions or group sessions, weekly, fortnightly or even monthly support. You may want to use patches or other medication like Champix, or you may find the support of your advisor is enough.
“I have tried quitting three times before and this time I can say without a doubt I have succeeded – so don’t be scared to try again if you have attempted to quit before – it may just be you need to try a different way.”