I stopped smoking 3 years ago – 3 years smoke free

Three years ago I wrote a post about stopping smoking. Today, I am now 3 years smoke-free! On the 1st October 2013 I stopped smoking. I…


Three years ago I wrote a post about stopping smoking. Today, I am now 3 years smoke-free!

On the 1st October 2013 I stopped smoking.

I originally just wanted to make it through the 28 days of the Stoptober challenge. I ordered the NHS Stoptober pack and it told me that if you stop smoking for 28 days, you are 5 times more likely to stop altogether.

I wanted to give it a try and I told myself it’s just 28 days. If I’m not feeling it, then I can go back to smoking. Before I knew it, I was 2 years smoke free and now I’ve just completed 3 years no smoking.

Stopping smoking was something I had wanted to do for a while. I had tried and failed many times.

I was embarrassed to admit to everyone that I was a smoker. I remember writing that post and being ashamed that you all knew now I smoke.

When I was a student, I didn’t mind people seeing me smoke, but as I got older, it started to embarrass me more and more. When people found out I smoked, they would always be so shocked because it doesn’t seem very me. I think I come across very girl next door. I don’t even know if I’ve used that phrase in the right context.

Smoking doesn’t suit me and I probably seem too goody-goody-two-shoes to smoke. That’s what I mean.

So every time someone would find out they would gasp. Sometimes I would feel like they were disappointed. I got to the point where I hated people seeing me smoke.

quitting smoking - 3 years smoke free

My history with smoking hasn’t been consistent. I started at 16 but I didn’t smoke a lot. Not even daily. When I went to university, I was smoking a lot more. You could still smoke in pubs and clubs in my first year of university so I would constantly have a drink in one hand and a cigarette in another.

The next day I would feel like I have a massive elastic band around my throat stopping me from breathing.

I stopped near the end of my first year for around a year when I decided to start looking after myself a lot more in general. Then going out with friends who smoked got me tempted. So I’d smoke when drunk. Which led to buying cigarettes before a night out. Which led to smoking them when I was sober because I had them so why not.

By the time I moved to France, I was smoking again but in denial. Then the cheap prices got me and I was back to smoking properly again.

The next few years were full of good intentions of stopping but then starting again. Living with smokers made it hard.

Then Christine and I decided to stop.

My other housemate didn’t want to. But she did stop smoking a few months later.

I used an electric cigarette which helped. For the first 2 weeks, the electric cigarette didn’t seem to do much. It didn’t hit the back of my throat like I craved.

That’s what my addiction to smoking was like. It was like having an itch in the back of your throat, an emptiness that was satisfied when you smoked.

But before long, the liquid was giving me the same feeling. That’s when I knew it would work and that’s when I knew where I went wrong before when I had tried electric cigarettes. I didn’t give myself enough time to adjust.

I was using the electric cigarette less and less. In the end, I was just carrying it with me in case.

I know I’ve spoken about stopping smoking before and wrote about the book that helped me stop smoking and lead a healthier lifestyle, but I feel it’s important to revisit the things you’re proud of achieving. Especially when you can be as hard on yourself as I can.

Benefits of stopping smoking:

Quitting smoking offers a wide range of benefits for both your immediate health and your long-term well-being. Here are some of the significant benefits of being smoke-free:

  1. Improved Respiratory Health: Quitting smoking leads to a noticeable improvement in your lung function. Your lung capacity increases, making it easier to breathe. Coughing and wheezing also decrease.
  2. Reduced Risk of Serious Illnesses: Smoking is a leading cause of several life-threatening diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Quitting smoking reduces your risk of developing these conditions.
  3. Longer Life Expectancy: Smokers tend to have shorter life spans compared to non-smokers. Quitting smoking can add years to your life and increase your overall life expectancy.
  4. Improved Cardiovascular Health: Smoking damages the heart and blood vessels, leading to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Quitting smoking reduces this risk and improves overall heart health.
  5. Better Oral Health: Smoking is a major contributor to dental problems such as gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Quitting smoking can improve your oral health and hygiene.
  6. Enhanced Senses: Smoking can dull your sense of taste and smell. After quitting, many people report that their sense of taste and smell become more acute.
  7. Improved Skin: Smoking accelerates the aging process and can cause premature wrinkles, yellowing of the skin, and other skin issues. Quitting can lead to healthier-looking skin.
  8. Better Physical Fitness: Smoking impairs physical performance and endurance. After quitting, you may find it easier to engage in physical activities and improve your fitness levels.
  9. Improved Mental Health: Smoking and mental health issues often go hand in hand. While quitting smoking can be challenging, many people report improved mental well-being and reduced anxiety and depression after quitting.
  10. Financial Savings: Smoking is an expensive habit. Quitting can lead to significant cost savings over time, as you no longer need to buy cigarettes.
  11. Reduced Secondhand Smoke Exposure: By quitting smoking, you protect the health of those around you, including family and friends, by reducing their exposure to secondhand smoke.
  12. Enhanced Sense of Control: Overcoming nicotine addiction and quitting smoking can give you a sense of empowerment and control over your life and health.
  13. Improved Fertility: Smoking can affect fertility in both men and women. Quitting smoking can improve your chances of conceiving if you’re trying to start a family.
  14. Enhanced Quality of Life: Overall, quitting smoking leads to a better quality of life, with improved physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

It’s important to note that quitting smoking can be challenging, and many people may require support through counselling, medication, or support groups to successfully quit. However, the benefits of being smoke-free far outweigh the challenges, and the sooner you quit, the sooner you can start experiencing these positive changes in your health and life.

What habit or negative cycle have you managed to break?

Update: It’s now 2023 and I still don’t smoke!


  1. You’ve done amazing to quit and break the cycle! I’ve never been a smoker, I tried it once and thought I was going to die, so that was the end of that. My boyfriend used to be a smoker before we started going out – I told him I could never date a smoker and the next thing I knew he had quit just to take me out which I still think it super sweet. I know he still struggles and even though he still has the odd one, he has done amazing too! So well done to the pair of you!

    Sarah 🙂

  2. Congratulations! I also quit in December of 2013 after having smoked for close to 17 years (started when I was 20). It’s such a hard habit to overcome but I did it. That was until a few months ago when I started up again after having gone cold turkey for close to 3 years. I’m not a heavy smoker (a pack a week), I don’t smoke in my house or my car and I’m not one to take multiple smoke breaks while working. I won’t stand in the rain or snow and I’ve never smoked around my parents but it’s still unhealthy nonetheless. I also get the “you don’t look like a smoker” comment all the time. Along with you don’t smell like smoke, why are your teeth so white and your nails not yellow? My response is what is a smoker supposed to look like? I remember working at a place for over a year before someone realized I did and that’s because they saw me doing it. So why do it in the first place? I started smoking because I don’t drink because I’m allergic to alcohol. Sounds crazy but sitting in a bar surrounded by friends with a club soda apparently wasn’t enough for me. Most of my friends smoked so I gave it a try. Turns out it wasn’t the smartest thing to do. I know that I’ll probably quit again but as of right now it’s just something that’s happening at the moment and I’m not going to beat myself up over it. So glad I came across this post because it’s not something people talk about very often. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. Well done! Stopping smoking is so hard. I think it’s amazing that you’ve now been a non-smoker for 3 years! I started smoking when I was 16, and stopped when I was 21 when I met my now fiancé. But I can’t say I’ve completely stopped. I still smoke socially – when grabbing a coffee with my mum (she’s definitely an enabler!) – and I still sometimes buy the odd packet and hide it in my car (my fiancé hates it!) x

  4. Congratulations! I’ve never smoked and I must admit I do hate it when people smoke around me – not that I judge them for doing it, mind, I’m just asthmatic! Hope you’re reaping the benefits of being a non-smoker now 🙂
    Megan x
    Lucky Penumbra

  5. This is so commendable! My husband is a smoker and while I get impatient with him sometimes, I definitely know how hard and frustrating it is second hand. Its really amazing you have managed to keep at it. I have so much respect for people who manage to stop smoking.

  6. I was a heavy smoker for many years, started when I was 19 and at my worst I was smoking one and half pack a day. And then I got to know my husband in end 2010 and he led such a healthy lifestyle and I wondered why don’t I take better care of myself? I was already 31 and in dire need to get back in shape instead of huffing and puffing after walking a few metres and I went cold turkey in 2011. It was rough going out with friends to pubs because everyone smoke and the temptation was great but I managed not to give in. So yea, it’s been 5 years for me and it’s one of the best decisions that I ever made for myself.

  7. The longest I’ve quit was about 3 years. I’m currently coming up to 2 years smoke free. The only thing that shocks me about this post is: you lived in France???

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