“Lost cause” is now thrilled to have quit smoking for over six months

A DONEGAL woman who smoked for over 50 years but quit six months ago is encouraging anyone considering quitting to use the support available.

With the help of the Donegal HSE Stop Smoking Service,  Phil Tysall has quit smoking and can’t quite believe how quitting has helped her regain her confidence and youthful appearance.

Phil started smoking when she was just 15 “to spite the nuns” at her boarding school.


Phil tried “hypnotism, willpower, patches and even a spiritualist” that cost her €100 and guaranteed quitting after attending their session.  After all these failed attempts, she had resigned herself to being a lifelong smoker.

“I became more short of breath as I got older and having seen patients with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) through my job, I knew I was heading in the same direction,” said Phil.

“Aging has made me more health aware I suppose.  Seeing the Quit ads regularly encouraged me to frequently think about needing to quit for fear of possible ill health.”

“Stopping smoking is one of the hardest things I have ever done in life but all the advice and support from Dawn and using Nicotine Replacement Therapy really helped.

“Dawn introduced me to the 5D’s which were great because they helped me break the habit of how I used to smoke:  Distraction, Delay, Drink Water, Deep Breathing and Don’t dwell on it.

“Distraction worked so well and I came up with a plan to clean a window frame every time I had a craving to smoke, it took my mind off it completely.

“Changing my morning routine was a huge help too while my sisters, husband and kids all were a great encouragement and support too,” said Phil.


She said having her carbon monoxide levels in her blood and breath measured every week by Dawn at the Donegal Stop Smoking Service clinic was an eye opener.

“Seeing it improve week on week to a normal level was a great boost and motivator for me.

“I’m being told a lot that it has taken 20 years off me.

“People keep remarking on the improvement in my skin but I also feel much healthier and now have much more energy.

“I’m definitely sleeping better probably because I’m not being wakened by my cough anymore.

” I also really love being able to go shopping without having to stop every hour for a coffee and a smoke.  My confidence has been given such a boost too.

“By doing and achieving something I didn’t think possible has spurred me on to get physically fitter too.  That is my goal for 2023 which wouldn’t be happening if I hadn’t quit.

“All I can say to anyone who wants to stop smoking is Contact the HSE Stop Smoking Service straight away.  I’m sorry I didn’t do it years ago.  Smoking was obviously clouding my brain as well as my lungs as having that support was so helpful and I knew I could call Dawn for help if I needed it.”

If Phil’s story has inspired you and you would like to give stopping smoking a go contact- Dawn Hanna, Donegal Stop Smoking Service, Mobile 086 3404321 or email

There are currently 16 face to face clinics throughout the county.

Alternatively ask your GP, Practice Nurse or local pharmacist for advice or contact QUIT on 1800 201 203 or


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