Quitting smoking has given Chris a new lease on life

Thanks to dedicated telephone support, stop smoking medication and self-determination, Chris was able to give up smoking and create a new healthier and happier life for himself.

Chris, 54, smoked for 40 years before quitting for good. He had previously tried to quit cold turkey but like many people, he needed some extra support to finally break the habit.

Going cold turkey works for some people, but research suggests that willpower alone isn’t the best method to stop smoking. In fact, only 3 in every 100 smokers manage to stop permanently this way.

Chris used the Yorkshire Smokefree Sheffield service, alongside nicotine replacement therapy. Evidence shows you’re 3 times more likely to quit successfully this way and it certainly did the trick for Chris.

He had a dedicated advisor who he built a rapport with. They got to understand his needs and he was given patches and an inhalator for 3 months in total. He began on the medium strength for eight weeks and then moved to the low strength for the final four.

I didn’t believe I could achieve four weeks smokefree at first! I had a few lapses in the first couple of weeks but felt I had made good progress cutting down. My advisor pointed out that I needed to not be smoking any cigarettes at all and at first I felt annoyed. However, I realised she was right – I was only prolonging things and still damaging my lungs. I threw away all my tobacco after that and started using my inhalator more regularly.”

Chris’ health was a big motivator for going smokefree. He has COPD and asthma and was finding his breathing getting worse and often had pain in his chest.

Smoking is the main cause of COPD and is thought to be responsible for around 9 in every 10 cases. The harmful chemicals in smoke can damage the lining of the lungs and airways. Stopping smoking can help prevent COPD from getting worse.

Quitting smoking is never easy. Chris, like many on their smokefree journey, decided to pick up a hobby. He began learning to speak Spanish and tried to make changes to his usual routine. This involved looking at other ways of coping with stress and meant he kept his hands and mind as busy as possible.

Evidence shows it is best to direct your attention to something else when you feel a craving while on your smokefree journey. When a craving hits, it’s good to find something to do that will replace that cigarette.

Not only has he found new hobbies and interests, his physical and mental health has also dramatically improved.

“I can go out for a walk and not feel like I’m dying. I can jog and talk on the phone without getting short of breath.

“My breathing was so bad I thought that was it. I just want people to know it’s never too late to stop. Even with COPD, I still get out of breath but nothing like it used to be and I can sleep at night without worrying I might not wake up.”

Chris now has more energy, he is sleeping better and is finally able to taste food properly. He has noticed how good his house smells and he is also better off financially.

“Before I quit, I thought I might only have a couple of years left to live with the way I was feeling. Now I am saving the money I am not spending on smoking and planning to book a holiday abroad next year.”

Chris shows that it’s never too late to start feeling the benefits of quitting smoking and with the right support you can succeed.