Friday, June 4, 2010

Quitting Smoking: A Girl's Journey

The Easy Way to Stop Smoking: Join the Millions Who Have Become Non-Smokers Using Allen Carr's Easyway MethodWhile we like to read on facts and articles and breakthroughs, we like all the more to read on the ordeals and triumphs of individuals who are like us: susceptible to diseases and frail in temptations - yet able to go through the trying experiences and emerge as victors.

Here, one individual went through a rigorous journey of self-control, to stop smoking. Stories like this makes us realize and reaffirm that with strong determination, an addictive cravings can be put under control, until totally eliminated.

A glimmer of hope for all of us.


Read on...
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'Girl in the glass house' will continue her smoke-free journey
By Ng Yan Bo, Channelnewsasia.com

Cheyenne blogging on her bed in the FAFW Glass House against a backdrop of Orchard Road.
SINGAPORE: Arsenal fan, female, 26 years old and a smoker for almost half her life. Three days in a Glass House along Orchard Road in a public effort to quit, and Cheyenne Lu is determined to stay off cigarettes.

While discovering her own strength, Lu found strength from people around her. She has also become a source of inspiration to others drawn to her effort, which was part of a project by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) in an effort to reverse the rising number of women smokers in Singapore.

Lu's 'three-day hump' in the Glass House was based on a philosophy derived from the movie 'Super Size Me', where director Morgan Spurlock coined the phrase in reference to the most difficult period of quitting an addiction.

After the first three days, curbing an addiction is supposed to be much easier.

Channelnewsasia.com tested it out with Lu on her three-day smoke-free journey.


DAY ONE

Before kicking-start her smoke-free life at 1pm on Thursday, Lu took out her very last stick of cigarette. It was the last puff "for old times' sake". She then let herself into the Fresh Air for Women (FAFW) Glass House along Orchard Walkway.

The 26-year-old appeared slightly nervous, admitting that the latest effort was "one of the biggest challenges" in her life, since other attempts to quit had failed.
Make-up brand ZA's stylist gives Cheyenne a daily make-over.
In case the public attention she drew living the Glass House couldn't get Lu to stick out the urge for a stick, the FAFW provided her with wireless internet access, a collection of her favourite DVDs and an entertainment system to play them on, as well as stylish furnishings, snacks and several activities to keep the writer distracted.

Being a self-proclaimed "artist with her make-up", one of Lu's first activities was a makeover session with make-up brand ZA.
"We believe that cosmetics can only do so much," said Jermaine Lim, Marketing Manager of ZA.

"Beauty starts with your skin. So we believe that not smoking is the first step to making you look good and we are here to let her know how good she can look."

Next on the line-up, fitness workouts and Pilates. "I have awoken muscles I never knew I had," Lu joked. "It wasn't too embarrassing though it was in front of the public’s eye but it was good as it took my mind off cigarettes for a good few hours."

On top of promoting a smoke-free lifestyle, the HPB, which initiated the project to inspire and encourage female smokers to quit smoking, made sure Lu would have a life-style change towards diet.
Friends from the Official Arsenal Singapore Supporters Club visit Cheyenne with updates on her favourite football club.
But while the personal fridge was stuffed full of health food such as yogurt, fruits and water courtesy of the HPB, Lu's friends who visited her in droves to keep up support also kept her up with other scrumptious snacks.

"We bought her doughnuts and Coca Cola," Jin Yan, 48, proudly announced as he barged into the Glass House with friends from the Official Arsenal Singapore Supporters Club, whom Lu frequently watches matches with at a bar at Elizabeth Hotel.

Lu is an avid fan of the English team the club because "they play beautiful football" and hopes that the money saved from cigarettes could see her in London soon to catch her favourite club in action.

Would that be enough inspiration to fuel her determination?


DAY TWO

Studies have shown that a 24-hour smoke-free period is enough for a smoker to feel the difference.

Unfortunately Lu found she didn't feel any fresher or even more alert. But she did have cravings for a cigarette.
A session with the HPB-appointed quit-smoking counselor soon solved the mystery.
Instructor from Amore fitness centre trains Cheyenne on her daily workout.
"Apparently there are different kinds of addiction to smoking," explained Lu.

"The advisor said that my addiction was a habitual one, and not a nicotine addiction. So I wouldn't feel that much difference... although on the plus side, I wouldn't have withdrawal symptoms such as runny nose."

Into her second day in the Glass House, Lu had gotten used to "being on display" for a weekend, where she went cold turkey in her very public effort to make a clean break from cigarettes.
It was also part of a drive by the Health Promotion Board’s Fresh Air for Women (FAFW) network to encourage female smokers to quit after a survey revealed a sharp increase in the number of women smokers over the past years.

"I don't really mind the passersby looking at me because most of them are actually very nice. It's quite amazing to see the compassion that Singaporeans have, and the shows of encouragement have been amazing."

One woman in particular, made a big impact on Lu, arriving in the wee hours of the morning, when Lu was awake and craving for a cigarette.

"This lady read about this event on the Channel NewsAsia website and she came down early today just to see me and give me a few words of encouragement and support."

However, for every good soul, there were the nasty.

"I have passersby who'd taunt me by lighting up purposely in front of me and smoke right in front of me," Lu said.

The freelance writer who kept an online blog during the three-day effort, recalled a stranger who tried to break her willpower by offering a hefty S$500 for her to smoke a stick with him.

The result of such discouragement was ironically, total encouragement... to stay smoke-free.
A passerby writes a note of encouragement to Cheyenne.
"Initially I thought if I saw (these discouraging acts) it'd be really difficult to continue, but surprisingly it made me want to stop smoking even more," said Lu.

"It made me even more determined to quit because people were taunting me. I just smile at them and I walk away. It gives me more encouragement."

While people fed on their curiosity, Lu also found herself being fed and reckons she might have gained a few extra kilos from her stay in the Glass House.

To her surprise, the Coffee Club at nearby Ngee Ann City decided to send food over to the Glass House daily to cheer her on.

Said Muhammad Riduan Bin Selamat, Assistant Manager of the branch: "We could see her from our outlet. All of us are smokers and it's quite amazing to see someone challenge herself to quit. We know it's not an easy thing to do. So we were there to support her."

The manager, who has been smoking 40 sticks a day for the past 16 years, rallied all 15 of his colleagues down to the Glass House with food as a sign of goodwill on the second night for a mini-party.

He said the effort by FAFW is inspiring for smokers like himself and he too, felt encouraged to take the first step in smoking less.


DAY THREE
It’s time to start packing up and Lu was proud.

On channelnewsasia.com's third visit to the Glass House, Lu confided she had learnt how to deal with her cravings.
"It's not that difficult, really, once you set your mind to it. I eat fruits, or drink lots of water – it's really important to occupy yourself. Alternatively, I play with my iPhone, or I blog."
Cheyenne's uncle congratulates her on having completed her three-day stint in the Glass House.
Lu who is a keen blogger frequently updates her blog with the latest news, comments and gossips on her favourite football team. This time though, she turned her blog focus on her quit-smoking journey.

It all tied in neatly with the HPB’s strategy of using the online medium to reach out to more female smokers.

"With the increasing popularity of internet, and the online medium becoming a hot favourite among youths, we have made use of this medium to reach out to more people, apart from using traditional media," said Ms Choo Lin, Deputy Director of the Health Promotion Board's Smoking Control Programme.

"We have seen a growth lately in all sorts of online medium, the latest being Facebook, hence we are also utilising Facebook for the FAFW programme. We also have our own website and blogs."

While strangers overseas have been giving Lu support via her blog’s comment tags, locally the too-tough-to-puff lass received more than 1,000 hand-written notes of encouragement left outside the Glass House along Orchard Road from strangers.

Finally emerging from her 'home' for three days on Sunday, Lu had friends and family to cheer her.
"I think she has a lot of determination to quit. I am very happy because she hasn't been smoking for three days," said Lu’s mother, Mdm Josephine Teo, in Mandarin.
Now an ex-smoker, Cheyenne poses with Choo Lin (R), Deputy Director of the HPB's Smoking Control Programme.
"It’s the first step, and I think it’s great. I have faith in her that from this point on she wouldn’t pick up a cigarette again."

Alyssa Pillai, who has been friends with Lu since school at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said: "We’re very proud of her. We’re going to reward her with... probably her favourite food, Bah Kut Teh at dinner."

The meal may not have scored top marks with health officials, but compared to the many other healthy days for Lu, the ex-smoker, she scores well for healthy living.

"We need to take control of our lives, to take the first step towards a pro-active effort to achieving good skin and a whole healthier lifestyle altogether," said Lu.

Although her three-day stint is over, Lu said her smoke-free journey has just begun.

"The three-day hump had been difficult sometimes but I had my loved ones around to support me, to say nothing of strangers who have been just incredible with their support," she said.

"It's going to be a long road ahead and I believe only a strong will and perseverance will carry me through," she wrote in her blog. "With the loving support from my friends and loved ones, it'll be a breezy stroll."
- CNA/yb



From ChannelNewsAsia.com; source article is below:
'Girl in the glass house' will continue her smoke-free journey
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