More than half of North West quitters succeeded in kicking the habit

More than half of North West quitters succeeded in kicking the habit

Smokers across the North West are being urged to kick the habit as the annual Stoptober campaign draws to a close.

This year marks the 11th Stoptober campaign encouraging people to quit smoking, as evidence shows that people are five times more likely to quit for good, if they can go 28 days smoke-free – and senior health leaders are highlighting the range of support services available for people who want to quit. 

73 year old Richard gave up when he needed an operation with support from his local Smokefree service, and 41 year old Laura quit when she found out she was pregnant and used the quit smoking app.

Year on year, smoking rates are declining and across the North West in 2021, 58% of people who decided to stop smoking and successfully quit, which is more than 16,000 people.

The benefits of stopping smoking are many; in the first 24 hours after a quit attempt, your blood pressure drops and the levels of carbon monoxide in your body goes back to a normal level. Eventually your lung capacity improves, there is more oxygen in the system, you will have more energy and feel less stressed, with a heightened sense of taste and smell, and your fertility will improve.

Richard, 73, quit smoking with the help of the Smokefree service, after being a smoker for 57 years, and now he is encouraging others to get the help that is available.

After being told by doctors they couldn’t operate on an umbilical hernia and a cancerous polyp, until he had stopped smoking, Richard sought help.

He said: “The fantastic staff at Smokefree Liverpool told me everything it entailed, the good and the bad. I took one Champix tablet at night at first, but soon came off the tablets and found that not mixing with other smokers and aversion therapy worked; I would go for a walk around the garden and deliberately think about anything other than smoking.

“I started on 20-a-day at 15, but in the past five years, I was on 60-per-day. The best thing of all was after a week, I told myself ‘I’ve not smoked in a week’, and week after week it became easier. The month was the milestone, and Smokefree Liverpool were still there for me to speak to.”

Richard added: “I don’t miss the stained fingers, the smell on my clothes, or the staining on the things in our house. And I don’t miss lying in bed, hearing my chest wheeze. If I was craving tobacco, I just have to think about my wife’s lungs and my cats’ lungs, as well as my own. Tobacco smoke gets everywhere.

“I am so happy to call myself a non-smoker. To anyone thinking of quitting, you don’t have to do it alone, there are so many services there to help. And you must concentrate on the benefits; not only will you live longer, think of all the money you’d save – for me that’s £7000 per year!”

Laura, 41, quit smoking in October 2020, when she fell pregnant with her first child. Having smoked for 20 years Laura knew that she had to give up for her own health and that of her baby.

She said: “I stopped smoking two years ago, thanks to the support of the NHS’s stop smoking services, which included my GP, my local pharmacist and using the NHS Quit Smoking app.

“I feel happier, healthier and I sleep so much better at night. But best of all, I am giving my son the best possible start in life, making sure that I am around to watch him grow up.

“It has been the best decision of my life.”

Dr Paula Cowan, Regional Medical Director for Primary Care, NHS England North West, who is also a GP said: “Sadly, smoking remains the biggest single cause of preventable illness and death in England, and even though year on year smoking rates are declining, around six million people still smoke.

“If you have taken up the Stoptober challenge, keep going. Giving up smoking will be one of the greatest things you will ever do for your health, both physically and mentally.

“Quitting will be difficult, but you can absolutely do it, and we’ve got services here to help – there are support tools available, and local stop smoking services across the North West.

“Whatever the reason for quitting, whether it is your health or your finances, getting involved in Stoptober is a great way to start the journey. And remember, you are not on your own.”

Categories: Health