Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills has smoked for 20 years and wanted to quit in the past but this time he is committed to stopping smoking for 28 days with Stoptober. Female First caught up with him two weeks in to find out who will be supporting him through his journey to becoming smoke free and what tools are available through the Stoptober campaign to help him reach his goal.
How many years have you smoked for and why did you start?
I started smoking when I was about 25 years old, as all my friends had started smoking a while before me. It was very social to smoke, there was even a smoking room at Radio 1!
I always found it hard to stop. I have noticed that I am smoking more in the last couple of years and so when the opportunity came along, I thought it was the right thing to do
Why is this October the right time in your life for you to stop?
I wanted to quit smoking primarily for my health, but also for my partner. He does not smoke and really doesn’t like me smoking!
My partner always tells me that he can’t wait for me to stop smelling of smoke, especially my clothes!
My friends and colleagues have also stopped smoking, so now it feels like I am the odd one out.
I have never smoked in the house, I would only smoke in the garden, and cleaning up the cigarette butts is pretty disgusting.
Have you tried to stop smoking before?
Only one small quit attempt but it was quite half-hearted. I didn’t smoke a lot – most of the time I’d smoke half of a cigarette but they add up.
I always had to nip out of the studio during songs, so I had to be really to be quick!
What did you most like about smoking and what has been the hardest aspect to give up?
It was more routine over actually enjoying smoking. I really struggle finding things to do with my hands, I have now started keeping a pen in my pocket if I need to fiddle with it!
Because I used to nip out of the studio to smoke while songs were playing, I have had to change my routine in order to not be tempted to have a cigarette. I now go and make a coffee or go for a walk, to give myself something to do instead.
I have been surprised during Stoptober that I haven’t had massive cravings, but I’m definitely eating a bit more and I’m more tired due to the nicotine withdrawal!
What support network have you had around you to help you through this process?
My friends have given up smoking, my partner doesn’t smoke, so I have told all of my friends and family that I have quit to motivate myself to keep going and stay off the cigarettes.
I now tell everyone I don’t smoke and all my friends keep supporting me to make sure I’m not smoking!
It was so nice to have so many people respond to my posts on Instagram and Twitter with their experiences and helpful tips. Everyone has been so supportive and it has been really helpful for me.
What tips do you have for other people who are joining you on this journey?
Do what I did and get support from Stoptober – visit the Better Health - Stoptober website and download the Stoptober app which gives you some tips and tricks of how to quit.
I also used nicotine patches to help me through, however they didn’t really work for me. I actually had someone on social media recommend the nicotine breath spray, which I really like.
There’s no points for pain and you should seek help to quit for good instead of going cold turkey.
What things have you been doing to distract you from temptation?
I am really working on my own health, so have been exercising a lot more which is getting so much easier as the month goes on.
What changes have you noticed in your mind and body since quitting?
For my mind, it feels like I am free of cigarettes. It’s so nice not to feel stressed about running out of cigarettes or not being able to find a lighter! It was like I was a slave to cigarettes and made me realise how much I was addicted to smoking.
For my body, I can now run without struggling to breathe, which is fantastic! I also walk 20 minutes home from the station, which is uphill. I have noticed it is getting easier every time I do it! I have also noticed my skin getting so much better, even after 2 weeks
Do you think it's been harder having Covid looming in the background? How has this contributed to your experience of giving up cigarettes?
I feel as though everyone is having their own ‘reset’ moment because of the lockdown. During the first lockdown, no one really knew what to do. I was smoking more and eating more, and not really exercising, which was really affecting my mental and physical health.
I realised I needed to step it up and improve my health, so I started exercising more, and improving the time I was spending on myself and looking after myself. One of the biggest ways I thought to do this was by quitting smoking.
What can you do now that you couldn't before because of smoking?
I don’t have to worry – the stress of running out of cigarettes after the shops had closed was making me so anxious!
I also didn’t realise how much money I would save. Someone on one of my posts suggested an app which works out how much money you can save after you stop smoking. It is both shocking to see how much I was spending a week, and amazing how much I’m saving!
If you're looking to stop smoking visit HE’s Better Health Stoptober page https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/
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