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‘I quit smoking and got my life back!’

After ditching her 30-year cigarette habit, Maggie Hoyland, 50, found love and a new career…

‘Growing up, all my family smoked – I used to watch my parents Magda and Bryan puff on cigarette after cigarette, so it always seemed completely normal to me. And as a teenager I’d spend my evenings in the pub with friends drinking and smoking, frittering away my money and my health.

 

Yes, there were times I felt embarrassed about my £70-a-week habit, and deep down I knew life would be better if I could stop. After all, I hated smelling of stale smoke and hadn’t tasted food properly in years. Worse still, the cigarettes were giving me wrinkles and staining my fingers yellow. All of these side-effects really started to affect my self-esteem, too – despite the fact I was unhappy in my office job, I just didn’t have the confidence to move on.

 

Then, in January 2013, my mother – who was still a heavy smoker – passed away. She was in her seventies and had suffered several strokes. My daughter Emily, now 21, was terrified that it might happen to me if I carried on smoking. I knew I couldn’t put her through the same heartbreak – it was the final push I needed to set a “quit date”.

 

A fortnight later and it was time to smoke my last cigarette – but I was so determined that I didn’t even want it! There are various treatments and support options out there, but in the end I chose to rely on willpower alone to get me through. The pride I felt at not reaching for a cigarette, along with Emily’s unfailing encouragement, really helped me manage the bad days when the cravings were overwhelming.

Realising I was the only one who could change things was the kick I needed to live the life I deserve

Within a few weeks, I began to feel the benefits – my sense of smell and taste returned, I wasn’t wheezing any more, my skin started to look brighter again and I didn’t smell of smoke. All that, combined with the added boost of finally conquering my addiction, meant that I really started to get my mojo back.

 

In an effort to stay as busy as possible and keep my mind off cigarettes, I joined a local gym and embraced a healthy new diet. Working out five days a week, I dropped from a size 16 to a 12. My body-confidence soared – so much so, I started dating again, and was delighted when I met my wonderful partner, Pete.

 

Thanks to Pete and Emily, I’ve realised life is too short not to try new things, so in January last year I quit the job I hated and became a lettings negotiator – four months later I was promoted to lettings manager!

 

To celebrate my 50th birthday and Emily’s 21st, I took us all to Turkey, funded in part by the money I had saved from not smoking. We had a wonderful time. I felt great and knew I looked good, too. It took me a long time to quit, but realising I was the only one who could change things was the kick I needed to live the life I knew I deserved.’

Expert Advice

Meera

Meera Shah, Boots pharmacist

‘Beat smoking once and for all with our help!’

‘There are plenty of ways to quit smoking and, at Boots, we have a range of options and support services available to help you achieve your goal.

 

These include one-to-one advice and information in store, as well as nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) – such as patches, gums and nasal sprays – available in store and online. Some people may even benefit from combining two different forms of NRT. If you think this might help you, pop in store to speak to our pharmacy team today.

 

Alternatively, you might want to consider our online clinic service (you’ll need to complete an online consultation to check if it’s suitable for you*), where you can get prescription-only medicines delivered to your home or a Boots pharmacy near you – without a trip to your GP [charges apply].’

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For more details on NRT and how to quit, visit boots.com/stopsmoking

*Eligibility criteria apply.

Interview Fiona Ford  Photography Helen Marsden Hair and make-up Liz Kitchiner Styling Angela Barnard

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