Fair City star George McMahon has quit cigarettes for good after 15 years of smoking – Here’s how
George McMahon gave up cigarettes for good using nicotine patches after almost 15 years of smoking.
The Fair City star picked up the habit after Ireland’s smoking ban was introduced in 2004 because he was tired of having to deal with coats and bags in pubs and nightclubs.
The father-of-two tried quitting in the past but nothing ever worked out and now he’s celebrating a year without a cigarette – and he’s saved nearly £5,000 by not smoking in the past 12 months!
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George told RSVP Live: “I tried quitting several times before I tried cold turkey and tried hypnosis, but started smoking again within 48 hours.
“This time around I used the patches and I kicked the habit. I know some people like to vape but I didn’t want to replace one habit with another.
“I wore the patches for 12 weeks. I still had cravings and really wanted to smoke during that time and thought it wasn’t going to work for me.
“But whatever happened in the last week, it worked. I don’t miss smoking. I eat a little more, but that’s fine.
“Even when I’m at parties and can smell cigarette smoke, I don’t want to smoke. I’m delighted. One of the things I was worried about was relapsing, but I feel fine and I’m confident that I’ll be able to stick to it.”
George, who plays Mondo in the RTÉ soap opera, hasn’t noticed any major changes in his day-to-day health, but his bank account is reaping the benefits of the lifestyle change.
He said: “I thought I would start tasting food more and my lungs would feel clearer, but the main benefit I see is that I have more money in my pocket. I basically gave myself a five thousand dollar pay raise last year.”
George will be 38 in September and he regularly smoked a box of 20 cigarettes a day.
He said: “I didn’t start smoking until I was 23. Both my parents smoked when I was growing up and my sister and I hated the smell of tobacco.
“It was back when you could smoke in the car and we used to go on long drives and they smoked. My sister and I hated the smell of smoke.
“When the smoking ban came into effect I was around 22 and was fed up with having to keep bags and coats on while everyone was smoking.
“I was the only non-smoker, so I started to join them and gradually I became a smoker.”
Willpower was key to his success this time around, along with the fact that he put his two children, Frankie, four, and baby Kody, first.
He explained: “I made a false promise to myself that I would quit when Frankie was born. It didn’t happen and I felt a little guilty.
“I owe it to my two children to do my best to be there for them throughout their lives.
“You have to have willpower to go cold turkey and use hypnosis. At the time, I wasn’t ready to give up and you have to be 100% ready to do it.
“Someone telling you to give up or making you feel guilty doesn’t work, it has to be your choice.
“The hypnotist also said that, he said you have to be fully behind your decision or you won’t get the full benefits.”
George never wanted to replace smoking with another habit, so vaping was never an option.
He said: “Every addiction is different but, for me, the patches really worked.
“Twelve week wean, give it a try.
“If I had started vaping, I would have felt like I was replacing one habit with another. People vape instead of smoking, but they vape more often because the vape is right in their pocket.
“They probably vape more than they ever would have smoked.
“I don’t know if there’s enough research or long-term studies to see the impacts of vaping. If you can, just try to give it all up.”
George and his wife Rachel Smyth have a busy family life and he joked that he has aged a lot since their second child came into the world last June.
“It’s hectic and we sleep a lot less. If you’re an out-of-work actor with a baby, that’s okay because you can spend a small amount of your time auditioning and you can sleep when the other kid is sleeping.
“When you have two kids at the same time, you just don’t sleep. I’ve aged about 10 years.”
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