Giving up smoking


Age at interview: 51

Brief outline: Debbie has been using e-cigarettes for two weeks and has cut down from about twenty cigarettes to five per day. She has also reduced the nicotine strength in the e-cigarette to the weakest dose. Her mother died recently of lung cancer. The money she is saving on cigarettes is helping to pay the mortgage for her holiday home. She plans to give up both smoking cigarettes and e-cigarettes by her next birthday.

Background: Debbie is married with adult children. She works part-time as a council officer. Ethnic background: British.

Audio & video

Back in April 2014, Debbie’s son bought her an e-cigarette kit for her birthday. She had asked for it because since last year she has been thinking about giving up smoking. There were a number of reasons that motivated Debbie to try to quit cigarettes: her mother had died from lung cancer the previous year; financially it was costing too much; she had recently started coughing and wheezing at night and she was concerned that her son had started smoking as well.
Debbie has been using the e-cigarette kit for about two weeks, but she is finding it easy to substitute the cigarette smoking with the e-cigarette. She has cut down from about twenty cigarettes to five per day. She has also reduced the nicotine in the e cigarette to the lowest strength. Her GP - who was also her mother’s, is delighted with her decision, but told her that little is known about the side effects of e-cigarettes besides that they are thought to be better than ordinary cigarettes.
Debbie described herself as an atypical smoker because she could smoke a lot one day and none the next. She also didn’t smoke in the car or inside the house and with the help of hypnosis she gave up when pregnant. She uses the e-cigarette as she would do an ordinary cigarette. For instance, she does not vapor in the bedroom and does not use it at work. Debbie uses e-cigarette to replace ordinary cigarettes, but she doesn’t want to become dependent on them. When out with friends she would, sometimes smoke heavily, but doesn’t find it problematic to go back to e-cigarettes the next day.
Debbie says it is too early to say about the health benefits of giving up smoking, but she has noted that her senses of smell and taste have improved. The money saved on cigarettes is helping to pay the mortgage of her holiday home. Her son and husband have also started using e-cigarettes and she has calculated that if all of them give up for good, there will be a household surplus of two hundred pounds per month.


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