About RTÉ Television
The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Start Again in 2010 - Smokers - National No Smoking Day

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

We are now into week 5 and our smokers are now 30 days smoke free. Today is Ash Wednesday and that means it is National No Smoking Day. Our EX smokers join us to talk about their top tips for staying smoke free and Pharmacist Kathy Maher joins us to do a spot check on our smokers. Our Volunteers will also receive a surprise message for each one of them.

Billy (William) Salinger, Dublin - He used to smoke about 50/60 a day. Billy has been in and out of hospital with lung problems. He has chronic Asthma. He is paired up with Pharmacist Kathy Maher.

Veronica O'Donnell, Co. Tipperary - Veronica around 25 a day and more when she is out. She is paired up with EFT Practitioner Norah Sweetman.

Rosie Carroll, Co. Roscommon - She used to smoke between 25 to 30 a day and is paired up with Hypnotist Joe Duffy.

Pharmacist Kathy Maher - She has been a pharmacist for almost 13 years, having completed her training in 1997. She has worked in community pharmacy ever since. She is based in Duleek & Donore Pharmacies, having worked there for 10 years.

Herself and her husband own these pharmacies. She is very active in health promotion and patient education, having won an award in this field in 2005. She firmly believes that giving patients the information around their medicines/conditions empowers them to making choices to have a healthier lifestyle.

Results from first carbon monoxide test from the 11th January 2010:

Rosie: Level 2/3 Amber - approaching danger
Veronica: Level 2/3 Amber - approaching danger
Billy: Level 4 (RED/Danger Zone)

About the Test:

The test gives an indication of smoking status through seven level indicators using the familiar red, amber and green traffic light system.

A heavy smoker could have as much as 10% of their normal blood oxygen taken up by CO. To compensate for the shortage of oxygen the body has to work harder with less fuel. When they stop smoking the level of carbon monoxide in the blood falls almost immediately.

There are 7 levels, which range form non-smoker (green) to heavily addicted smoker (red). This test is extremely beneficial - it will give an indication of the patient's level of smoking, and will show a positive benefit within weeks of quitting.

Billy Salinger: He is doing very well, still misses the act of holding the cigarette but can't believe sometimes that he is off them. He has noticed his breathing is so much better and he does not use his inhalers as much and he is delighted, he has noticed he looks a lot healthier as well and people have also noticed.

His GP is delighted with his progress. Over the last few weeks he has had a few social occasions and he has done really well, he had a christening and his daughter's birthday party, but he said the amount of people that are behind him and wishing him well he does not want to let them down plus the smell of smoke is horrible to him now and can't bare to smell it on peoples clothes even.

His friend has also given up with him so it great to have someone doing the same thing, plus he is on to Rosie and Veronica all the time so even their support is great. He is so grateful to TAS for giving him this opportunity to stop for good and he really believes that he will never smoke again.

Billy's Top Tips:

. When he gets a craving he takes the dog out for a walk.

. Saving a few quid that he would have spent on smokes spurs him on.

. If he feels a bit frustrated he will throw a few darts at the dart board.

. When his family tell hi that the house does not smell of smoke anymore that makes him very happy.
. Instead of drinking more water he is drinking more tea but there is water in that so hopefully it is not too bad.

Veronica O'Donnell: She can't believe how well the tapping is working for her and loves doing it, but she says that the thinking about giving up smoking was harder for her than the actual act of stopping smoking, but, the cravings she had in the beginning are nearly all gone and she is so proud of herself for doping so well.

She is so delighted with herself that she has stopped at last. She has noticed a difference in her skin and hair her health in general and all her family are saying how well she looks. She is not out of breath as much going up stairs or walking up the hill, her smell has improved just an over general felling of wellness.

Veronica's Top Tips:

. When the craving hits I do my tapping and that is the best thing I have ever done. I really don't think I would be able to stay smoke free without.

. The painting by numbers that you gave me I love doing; it helps me relax before I know it an hours has passed. I am going to frame it and hang it in my house when I am done to remind to stay smoke free.

. When I walk into my house and there is no horrible smell of smoke and I'm not running to plug in air fresheners, I can just open the window that spurs me on.

. To make it worth my while I have been saving a few quid I would have spent on the cigarettes so far I have about €180 and that is going towards my holiday in May. I really think that you have to do something for yourself with that money, it makes me mad to think of the money I spent over the years so that alone makes me more determined to stay off them.

Rosie Carroll: I am really starting to notice the difference in myself this week being the fourth week on this challenge. I have loads of energy; my skin feels so much softer even my Hair feels softer. I also notice my sense of smell for the first time in years I can smell fresh air properly, also my sense of taste I now know I really don't like the taste of certain things. It's like all my senses are in overdrive. The times I found the hardest was always just after a meal, first thing in the morning, and on weekends mostly Sundays.

It's getting a lot easier and the cravings are down to about ten percent now compared to 80 percent. Sometimes she is amazed that she is off the smokes and did not do it before, but the support from everyone has been amazing. As she comes from a small town everywhere she goes everyone is wishing her well or just checking up on her, if she goes into the shop they check to see what she is buying. It's great that everyone is behind her. She tried to do the knitting we gave her but it was not the easiest so she joined her Mother's knitting group and she is now knitting hats for premature babies.

Rosie's Top Tips:

. Drinking warm glasses of Water.
. Cloves chewing a clove after meals.
. Walking.
. Knitting.
. Listening to Joes Cds and other relaxing music.