Smoking & MS

This morning I participated in a study run by the University of Melbourne on understanding the needs of smoking cessation in people with Multiple Sclerosis.

I didn’t hesitate in signing up. I have battled smoking for years. I’ve quit smoking probably a 100 times. Some times just days, sometimes weeks or months with the longest run being almost 3 years. I don’t smoke a lot, some days I don’t smoke at all.

We discussed how I quit in the past and for me its cold turkey. It’s mindset. I have to be in the right frame of mind to stop. For me stopping isn’t the issue. It’s not picking up the habit again when I’m triggered.

They asked what I liked about smoking. Umm nothing. It stinks. It’s a million dollar habit and I’m obsessed with washing my hands and brushing my teeth because of it. I have to hide from my kids because they too hate it.

My triggers are stress, anxiety and pain. Obviously a MS diagnosis comes with an immense amount of stress & anxiety. We discussed how for some people a MS diagnosis is enough to stop immediately. For me it wasn’t. I immediately changed my diet and went on an alternative path along with western medicine.

We also spoke about my Neurologist and support team. My Neurologist has never discussed smoking with me. I raise it often with my support team and I am told not to tackle it yet but to put it on the long term list. Their approach causes me more anxiety and I wish they were more supportive. Quitting smoking is no longer a choice, it’s essential when battling this horrid disease.

The team from the University of Melbourne are hoping to use the information gathered to develop educational resources specifically aimed at those of us recently diagnosed with MS that smoke.

I found this session to be really therapeutic, discussing my highs and lows in my MS journey and how it is impacting my ability to stop smoking for good.

Hopefully next time I decide to quit this session will inspire me to not pick it up again. Because there really is no choice, I just have to stop.

Here’s the link if you too are struggling like I am and would like to share your thoughts with the researchers.