I first started smoking
probably just on a night out.
Suddenly you're sober and
you're just addicted to it.
As I got older, you wake up,
you feel absolutely awful.
Sick from it. Got a headache.
Really hoarse, tired, really fast.
Before you know it,
you have another cigarette.
I was putting my life at risk.
You're sort of,
essentially playing Russian roulette.
Who am I to say that I'll make it to 40,
let alone 70 or 80?
It wasn't until I got in contact with
a stop smoking counsellor that I quit.
I actually studied performing arts,
and I always used cigarettes
as a distraction from my nerves.
Quitting has given me a power because
I know that I have that control.
If I can give cigarettes up,
I can pretty much
do anything that I want to do, really.
I think a lot of the times,
addictions come from certain places,
and most people don't realise that.
I had a lot of anxiety and depression,
and I used to go to counselling,
and they advised just take
a class up in anything,
and it'll build your confidence
and your self esteem.
And I'd always wanted to try burlesque.
I felt amazing, because it's
quite vulnerable, burlesque,
you are taking off your clothes
in front of an audience.
You just create whatever you want to create,
and that's what I love about performing.
It allows me to do just whatever I want to do.
I smoked the most leading up to a show.
You're really nervous, you go outside,
you have a cigarette,
and then that cigarette is done,
you have another cigarette,
and you're just trying
to count down the time.
I had tried before to quit smoking cigarettes.
So I used nicotine patches,
a little inhaler thing.
There were times where I probably
just tried to go cold turkey,
like, overly confident.
You start to struggle and then slowly I just
introduced smoking again,
and it was like I'd never really tried to quit.
I think what stopped me was that I
wasn't ready to quit cigarettes.
I started to realise life
isn't a sort of plain sailing.
I thought: "What if I do get pregnant?"
and I find it really hard to stop smoking
and I'm smoking during my pregnancy.
What if this stops me from
being able to actually get pregnant?
That really freaked me out.
So I actually called a quit
that I found through the NHS.
It was really, really, really, simple.
Within a day, I had an appointment.
Being able to speak to someone
was really really helpful.
So I've often had phone calls if I can't come in.
Check in and just feel like
you've still got that connection.
This was not only like a health care professional,
but a stranger and someone that you wanted
to make proud in a way as well as myself.
One of the first things they
did was take a CO2 reading.
It's like a breathalyser machine.
Hold your breath for 15 seconds,
and then at the end you get a reading,
and that shows how much
CO2 is in your system.
My reading was like 21.
If a building got that rating, they'd have to like,
essentially evacuate the building.
Like, it wouldn't be a safe reading.
You start your counselling
essentially before you've quit,
and you choose a quit date
together with the counsellor.
I quit smoking cigarettes
on Christmas Eve.
And I had some of my biggest
shows coming up,
and I'm gonna have to do without
cigarettes, and it was like:
"Wow I've not thought
this out at all."
Weirdly doing costumes was
something that also taught me
that things aren't always
easy and you're not always
going to get it straight away.
If there ever was a day that
maybe I gave in,
and I had that cigarette,
that didn't mean that I'd absolutely failed.
I still had a chance to give it another go.
My counsellor sends me like,
so that's nice as well,
getting like a little certificate,
that's like, you've not smoked for this long,
and I'm like:
"We'll pop that on the fridge."
Quitting cigarettes feels amazing.
Also felt good because I knew
I didn't have to go through
the difficult journey of quitting smoking
whilst being pregnant,
because pregnancy is a really emotional time,
like it's really really difficult.
I should imagine that smoking
would have been something
that I would have really wanted to do,
if I was still smoking whilst I found out.
I viewed not being able to stop,
as me being a weak person.
When people feel like they can't,
or tell me that they don't think they can stop,
"Yes you can. Stick in there."
If you've tried before, and it's not worked,
keep going, because it will happen.