Posted by Amy: May 2012
Bec Elliott was just 15 when she started smoking at parties. Her reliance on cigarettes grew over the years and it was by the time she was about 24 that Bec was smoking regularly.
"At my worst I was probably smoking about eight cigarettes a day, but then could easily smoke a whole packet on a weekend," said Bec.
"Although I'd always known in the back of my mind that one day I would have to quit, it was when my Mum, a long-time heavy smoker, had a health scare that I couldn't ignore the issue any longer."
"Mum's doctor asked me why I smoked, and I couldn't think of anything to say. It was embarrassing, and I felt ashamed. That day Mum and I quit together."
That was on the 9th of December, and Bec hasn't had a cigarette since.
"The difference in the way I feel since I stopped smoking is incredible. I'm fitter, I feel more awake and my skin is clearer," Bec said.
"Mentally, I feel 100% better. Although I tried not to think about it, I was always conscious that I was harming my body so there was this constant guilt that I just put up with. It feels so good not to feel that anymore.
"Over the years all my friends who smoked had quit, so I was the only one popping outside, standing out in the cold while my friends carried on the party inside. I think there's a stigma with smoking now, and I actually think that's a really good thing. It was definitely a motivator for me to stop.
"In a way I was lucky – when Mum and I decided to quit my mindset was right for the first time. I wanted to stop smoking and I knew my addiction was beatable. I was determined.
"Of course there have been moments when I've craved a cigarette, especially at my standard smoking times. When it was time for my usual ‘ciggy break', I'd do something else like make a cup of tea, just something to keep me occupied until the craving passed.
"It's still pretty early days I guess, but to be honest it's been so much easier than I thought and I feel fantastic. My Mum is also doing amazingly well, which is a motivator in itself because I figure if Mum can do it so can I!
"I would encourage anyone who is considering quitting to give it a go – it might not be as out of reach as you think and once you get there you'll never look back."