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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Quitters' panel: 23 days to go
Our panel of readers want to kick the habit with the ban on smoking in enclosed public places looming in England. So, how do they feel when they go without cigarettes?

Dave Chapman

Dave Chapman is 22, works for a logistics company and lives in Rickling Green, Essex.
His story

Sandra Green

Sandra Green is 48 and an admin assistant from Dronfield, Derbyshire.
Her story

Reetu Kabra
Reetu Kabra is 24 and a publicist who lives and works in London.
Her story
Russel Hopps

Russel Hopps is 65 and a funeral director from Manchester.
His story

DAVE CHAPMAN

This week I changed my brand of tobacco for one with a lot less nicotine in it as I've decided I really should be doing something in the build up to quitting.

So far I haven't noticed much difference, except that I'm struggling to keep the amount I smoke to a minimum. I'm sleeping a lot better, but so far my mood is the same as always. I don't think I'm being grouchy or snappy, but of course it could be that nobody is telling me yet.

I'm beginning to look forward to quitting now, despite how I've felt when I've tried in the past. Each time I've turned into an ogre for a couple of weeks. I've also felt drained, tired and always hungry - which I'm really hoping doesn't happen again.

This time I will be trying a new drug that's going to be on the NHS. I'm really excited about it as it's an aid to quitting that isn't nicotine replacement therapy. I think that's what has affected my mood the last few times I've attempted to quit. As it stands I'm on course to being a non-smoker, let's just hope I can keep up this good feeling and finish the job.

SANDRA GREEN

I am being moody at the moment and I know at times I am being unreasonable. A couple of friends came round on Tuesday night and I would have argued black was white with them. At other times I feel really happy because I am doing so well.

Learning to take one day at a time is difficult for me as I can't help looking ahead to when I can hopefully say "no I don't smoke I haven't touched one for years". At other times it depresses me because at the moment I want a cigarette and I am hoping I won't feel like this forever.

I feel great when my daughter tells me how well I am doing, especially as she smokes herself. She is being good and going outside to have a smoke when she is home.

Physically, I am at the coughing stage and having to constantly clear my throat all the time but I know this will pass. I am sure one day I will feel better, it just doesn't feel like it at the moment. Never mind I am determined to do it.

RUSSEL HOPPS

Emotionally it is hard, you do get grumpy and distracted because all you're thinking about is cigarettes. You have to fill your time so you aren't just sitting there thinking about a smoke. If your family and friends are supportive that's also a great help.

Physically, the first few weeks are also difficult. You get a hacking cough and don't feel good at all. You start wondering why you are putting yourself through this.

But things move on. The cough goes and you do start to feel better. My dentists says my teeth already look a lot better. Those improvements really spur you on.

But just tackle each day as it comes and if smoking has become a habit, say with the paper in the morning, then change your routine.

REETU KABRA

I think it is often the case that the fear of giving up smoking is worse than the actual process of quitting.

One thing that has helped me feel less anxious about the whole thing is focusing on the gains rather than the losses. Less thought about "giving up" and more thoughts about how much money I'll save, better health...

There is however the physical withdrawal symptoms you get when you first give up - that horrible nicotine craving which can make you really agitated for a few minutes.

But it does disappear if you stay calm and focus on the positives and within four weeks 99% of the nicotine will be out of your system. It's not easy - but it can be done.


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