On My Way…

Hello, I’m Melissa. I just turned 37 years old and I am exactly six months pregnant. I am also a smoker trying to quit.

I started smoking when I was 14 yrs old during March Break and haven’t stopped since. I thought for sure when I became pregnant I would quit and that it would be easy. That’s not the case – it’s as hard as ever for me. Drinking was easy to stop, I don’t even think about it. But smoking for me is different. I tried stopping on my own and going “cold turkey” but couldn’t.

Since I had trouble quitting by myself, I joined CAMH‘s Smoking Cessation program (www.nicotinedependenceclinic.com). By attending regular doctor appointments, I receive nicotine patches and lozenges for free. I’ve been on the patch since the beginning of December. Because I am pregnant the doctor put me on the lowest dose there is — 7mg. I haven’t been able to quit completely, but have cut back my cigarettes by half. I’ve gone from 20 cigarettes per day to 10 or 12 per day. I was told it’s okay to still smoke while on the patch (but it’s not recommended).

Even though my physical cravings have been cut back, my mental/psychological cravings are still the same. When I wake up, I want a smoke. When I’m waiting for the bus, talking on the phone, after I’ve had a meal, before I go to sleep and all the times in between, I want a smoke. During some of these times I use the lozenges but I can only take a maximum of six per day. For my other cravings I give in and smoke. I do admit I lack will power. If I only had more strength to say no to myself, I’d be smoke-free.

It’s very easy for me to smoke at home. Changing my routine in the apartment to avoid it is a challenge because I live with my mother who smokes. She says she’ll go into the bathroom and turn on the fan when she has a cigarette but hasn’t done so yet. Plus, even if I were to quit right now, she wouldn’t go outside because “it’s her apartment and it’s cold outside.” Living with her is temporary, as I am awaiting housing. I am currently number one on my list, so it shouldn’t be too much longer before I have my own place. When I have my own space it’s going to be smoke-free–even if I’m not. I hope I can be. Fighting one craving at a time!

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