“I’d smoked for 33 years before a health scare made me quit. I used to smoke between 20 and 30 cigarettes a day and I’d always said I would quit but I never got round to it.
I was on a family holiday in Devon and woke up one morning really short of breath with liquid pouring out my nose and I was coughing up blood. My lungs were full of liquid. I just laid there and thought, ‘you idiot’!
I was rushed to A&E where they diagnosed me with pneumonia and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). The first thing they asked me in hospital was whether I smoked. When I told them I did they said I should quit as soon as possible. They said that if I didn’t quit smoking I might not be around much longer. It was the big wakeup call I needed and at the age of 43 I thought that’s no age to be going.
The first thing I did when I got home was to contact the stop smoking service. I’m really glad I did and I learnt a lot from other quitters; sharing your experience with other people who are in the same boat as you really does help. Everyone has a different story and you can talk about what is working and share the bits that maybe don’t work as well.
I know a lot of people say it is really hard to stop smoking but I didn’t find it hard at all. Because of the situation I had put myself in by smoking and making myself so ill I knew I had to stop and that was that. I didn’t have any cravings; the doctors’ words really did stop me in my tracks.
The first thing I tried to help me quit was Champix. I then changed onto patches and within ten days I had quit and didn’t have any more cravings.
Everyone around me was really supportive and I think that does make a massive difference. My colleagues at work quit at the same time and no one at home smokes either so the temptation was gone. When someone smokes now I hate the smell of it. I’m really not interested in smoking ever again.
Now I’ve quit smoking my health has improved dramatically. I can breathe again! I’m not out of breath and I can walk the dog without being out of breath. I can also taste food for the first time in years. I’m so much healthier now I’m smoke-free.
My advice to anyone who wants to quit is to get in touch with the Yorkshire Smokefree service. They helped me so much. They encouraged me all the way and congratulated me when I was smoke-free.”