Ex-smoker Theresa Mimnagh is looking forward to the trip of a lifetime Down Under – after saving thousands of pounds by giving up cigarettes.
Theresa will fly to Australia with family and friends in June – one year after quitting, by which time she will have saved over £3,000.
Theresa, a matron at Moseley Hall Hospital, decided the time had come to kick the habit for good when she took on caring responsibilities for her elderly mum and seized the opportunity to review her whole lifestyle.
“I started smoking properly in my first year of nurse training, ironically, so I was about 21,” says the 55-year-old, from Selly Park.
“Attitudes were very different then – it was much more part of the culture, both at work and socially, and I fell into a 20-a-day habit.
“But obviously, that’s changed a lot in recent years. It’s not as widely accepted in society and it’s become very expensive.
“So when I needed to make lifestyle changes to spend more time caring for my mum, it was a good opportunity to try and improve my health – and giving up smoking was my number one objective.”
Theresa, whose career includes experience in the field of mental health and addiction, approached Birmingham stop smoking service for advice and, after starting a 12-week course of nicotine replacement tablets, managed to quit in about a month.
“I was very proud of myself for achieving this after more than 30 years as a smoker and can honestly say I’m not really tempted to have a cigarette now,” she says.
“I sometimes have a moment of weakness after a Sunday lunch but it’s easy enough to resist – and I’m confident a traditional Aussie barbie won’t be any more of a challenge!”
Carol Carter, clinical lead nurse for Birmingham stop smoking service: “Giving up smoking is not easy for anyone but it can be particularly difficult if your friends and workmates smoke.
“Theresa is a good example of someone who seized a moment of extra motivation to quit. It’s important at those times to know that the right professional help and support is easy to access and can make you around four times more likely to stop than with willpower alone.”
Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr John Cotton, said: “Every day is a good day to quit smoking and our Stop Smoking Service in Birmingham is ready to help any smokers who want to kick the habit.
“I was a smoker myself and I’m proud to be a quitter. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
“And it’s not just about the health benefits. It’s staggering to think that a 20-a-day smoker who successfully quit last No Smoking Day has already saved almost £2,700.”
For friendly advice and support on how to quit, call the Birmingham stop smoking team on 0800 052 5855 free or text ‘QUIT’ to 80800.