Beccles man who smoked 80 cigarettes a day for 40 years quits – thanks to NHS Stop Smoking Service
- Credit: Archant
A north Suffolk man, who smoked 80 cigarettes a day for 40 years, has miraculously quit after signing up to a life-changing NHS stop smoking scheme.
Neil Smith, 53, of Beccles, and his wife Janet, 52, spent £300 a month on cigarettes before the 12-week NHS scheme gave him the tools, and the willpower, to finally kick the habit.
NHS Stop Smoking Services, developed by experts and ex-smokers, are free and are delivered by professionals at hospitals, GP surgeries and other health centres. Specialists offer one-to-one support or group help, as well as medicine.
Mr Smith was one of the 743 smokers in Suffolk who signed up to the April to June scheme this year. A total of 328 had given up by the end. The success rate of 44% was the joint-lowest in the East of England and behind the national average of 48%.
But former lifelong smokers who have used the 'amazing' courses to kick in the habit and radically changed their lives – including Mr Smith – have urged others to find the same willpower and commitment.
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Mr Smith said: 'I've been given a new lease of life. I used to sit there fed up and bored. Now I just want to crack on and do stuff. We have already redecorated the front room and bought a new sofa
'A nurse at James Paget (University Hospital in Gorleston) explained all the chemicals that go into you from a cigarette and it really shocked me. It is unbelievable.
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'I was a heavy smoker, and decided to stop. I have tried going cold turkey but e-cigarettes but they didn't work for me.
'But the (nicotine) patches and (nicotine mouth) spray they gave me took away any craving and it worked. It went from strength-to-strength.
'Every time I got a craving, I had a blast of this nicotine spray and it took it away every time.
'It was a fantastic service. You could call them at the drop of a hat. I had mine once a week at my local doctor's surgery. They highlight how much nicotine is in your body and show what's happened.
'You also blow into this mouth (device) – I blew 54, which meant I was a heavy smoker. At the end, my score went down to two. I was sceptical of the service, but it is amazing. They are there 24 hours a day, and work around you.'
He is currently unemployed due to his disability. He suffered his second heart attack earlier this year.
He said his sense of smell has returned with 'amazing' effect.
'I can't believe I used to smell like that,' he said. 'It all comes down to willpower as well.'
At the end of the course, he took his tobacco pouch and burnt it in the woodburner in his garden.
'I took a video of it and they show it on the course now,' he said. 'I am never going back to cigarettes.'
According to the NHS, smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in England, accounting for more than 80,000 each year nationwide. One in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease.
The NHS Stop Smoking Service in Suffolk is run by OneLife Suffolk, which took over from Live Well Suffolk in April. They take place at hospitals, GP surgeries and other health centres.
? For more information about OneLife Suffolk, call OneLife on 01473 718193.