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Stoptober: Why I quit smoking

This year, the national Stoptober campaign is challenging five million people in England to commit to quit smoking for one month. The campaign is driven by evidence that if smokers make it to 28 days smoke free, they are five times more likely to quit for good.

Our Smokefree Team supports staff and services users throughout the year to quit smoking and feel the benefits. To encourage and inspire those who might be considering giving up, two service users, Daniel and Jay*, have shared their stories here.

Jay’s story

I had no fixed pattern to my smoking as such; I have smoked most of my adult life and saw it as 'a badge of honour' to be worn with pride. My smoking became worse whilst I was staying in supported accommodation last year. I was offered weed by one of the other residents and started smoking up to two joints per day.

My smoking became a 'cry for help'. My medication at the time was not working and I felt really bad. When I was admitted into hospital, I was ok with the smokefree environment and did not really struggle. I think it helped that the doctors got my medication right and I started to feel better.

The main reasons for quitting smoking for me are that it is expensive, addictive and anti-social. I also want to be a good role model for my children and others. I feel so much better, everything feels better since quitting.

I still struggle when I feel stressed and think of smoking. I was offered a cigarette yesterday by a friend whilst out on leave but I said no, I didn’t smoke anymore. This made me feel good. I want to keep busy and get a job when I am back in the community so I don’t think about smoking.

I think one of the most important things you need to do as a smoker is to firstly address the cause of smoking and to seek advice and support early on. I want to lead a meaningful life and I see this as one of the stages.

Daniel’s story

I have been smokefree since March 2022 and quit with the support from Melissa who is the Tobacco Dependence Advisor at Lambeth Hospital.

I started smoking at the age of 16, mostly cannabis. I would say peer pressure was the main factor for me starting. I stopped smoking cannabis at the age of twenty-one after I started to feel paranoid, switching to tobacco. Up until I quit, I was smoking up to 70 rolls-ups daily. I decided to quit using an e-cigarette, I set a quit date and used the vape to manage my cravings. Since switching from smoking to vaping I have decided to use the nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) inhalator. My goal is to be completely free from nicotine.

I would say the benefits of quitting smoking for me is that my breathing is easier, I am able to ride my bike further and have more energy.

My motivation to quit came from losing members of my family to cancer which was related to smoking. I would say the benefits of quitting smoking for me is that my breathing is easier, I am able to ride my bike further and have more energy. My clothes smell fresher, and I have more money to spend on myself, I also know that smoking can cause people to suffer health issues and die earlier.

*Name has been changed.