Ask the Advisor - Chris

Published at 20 April, 2016.

Ask the Advisor - Chris

Meet our advisor, Chris, who has been helping people just like you become smokefree for around 7 months now.

At Yorkshire Smokefree we have a team of expert advisors committed to helping those who want to stop smoking. From one-to-one support sessions, a friendly chat over the phone or online, our advisors are there to help you manage your cravings and provide behavioural support and guidance that will help you break the habit for good.

We know quitting smoking is hard work, some of our advisors have even gone through it themselves! We’re a friendly and approachable team who will never judge and we’re committed to helping your smokefree journey be as smooth as possible.

How long have you been a stop smoking advisor?

I recently joined the stop smoking team approximately 7 months ago, after changing health focus in my career. Previously working as a Health Trainer delivering predominately weight management advice. 

Describe a typical day at your Yorkshire Smokefree clinic

My role of advisor can vary as delivery of smoking cessation can be delivered either by phone, one to one consultation or within group settings. The above methods are part of my main role as an advisor to the general public. We may find throughout the year we are required to deliver presentations when required on the topic of smoking cessation.

Calderdale deliver stop smoking advice to new and old partners (business) who wish to increase their knowledge or understanding of smoking cessation. Recently I have been involved in delivering Brief Intervention Training to one of our newest partners the West Yorkshire Fire Service. They now include, as part of their free fire safety checks (when needed) simple stop smoking advice and awareness of the Yorkshire wide service. The training has gone down well between both parties and we now hope to establish a successful partnership for the future. 

As all jobs in the NHS there is a certain level of paper work that has to be completed and recorded before and after each client. All advisors are required to complete and maintain client files both electronically and paper based. This ensures that the client’s details are correct, secure and accessible to other members of the team if required.

Due to the variety of services offered in Yorkshire Smokefree my typical day will slightly vary day to day.

How many people have you helped to stop smoking?

It’s a very difficult question to answer as to be honest I have never kept a tally. What I can say is that in the short period of time I have worked as a stop smoking advisor I have worked with a wide variety of clients and been able to help many clients successfully complete both 4 and 12 week programs. 

What has been your most memorable quit story?

Most clients who successfully quit smoking have a memorable quit story or part of their quit that makes you think how hard or how much this really means to this person.

Yorkshire Smokfree has a fantastic website that’s worth a look. Advisors like myself are asked to encourage clients which their success stories. Calderdale are actively updating our recent success stories so check out the link below or have a look for yourself, there may be something you find relates to your current situation.

What’s the youngest age someone has approached you for support?

I have worked with various ages but the youngest would possibly be 18 years old.

As part of a stop smoking advisor role we are expected to do various promotional events and more recently I have attended a couple of events at Calderdale College where numerous younger students 15 years + have approached me asking for stop smoking advice. Within Calderdale we have a great partnership with a service called Branching Out who support this age group.

What’s the oldest age someone has approached you for support?

81 years old.

On average, how many sessions does each client attend?

We aim as a service to support all clients for a period of 12 weeks but it’s down to the clients if they attended weekly or fortnightly. We recommend weekly appointments but typically clients attend 8-12 sessions.  

What do you find is most effective when encouraging someone to quit smoking? (ie. CO readings, hearing about other success stories, use of NRT products, etc.)

Stopping smoking is very much an individual experience and I always make it clear that what works for one doesn’t mean it will work for another. We offer support and motivation as a standard part of treatment but we know that combining stop smoking medication with specialist support will increase the client’s chance of success. Most clients who access the service will have tried, failed or had success from either NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) or Champix. It’s always worth exploring these attempts so we can learn from them but sometimes the client may have had a bad experience due to not properly using the chosen product.   

I would always suggest to anyone who would like to try and give up smoking to attend or contact a stop smoking advisor. I have had many clients who during their initial consultation decline the service as they have felt after correct advice and support that during that particular time they are not ready for the long term commitment that stopping smoking requires. These clients hopefully will return and quit sometime in the future. 

What do you love most about your job?

Within the seven months I have been working within the YSF team my previous understanding of smoking has changed. Previously I would have said smoking is like any other health related habit and that it can be easily broken. My current experience tells me that for some the behaviour of smoking runs far deeper than the initial physical addiction to nicotine but for most it’s a whole way of life and if removed creates a whole new way of coping especially with simple day to day tasks.

With this in mind my favorite part of my job has to be during the initial consultation. For example, I work with a client who has smoked for a significant number of years and has never tried or believed they could stop but normally due to recent health complications have to make the decision to give up smoking.

Typically after 12 weeks of quitting these clients always make me smile as without knowing most clients talk about similar health benefits they have noticed within the very short period of time of quitting, especially when they think how long they have smoked. It’s always nice hearing how you have helped any client overcome a behaviour that they never thought they would be able to give up.

It’s even better as an advisor when you make a follow up phone call after 6 months and 12 months after the initial quit day and they have managed to remain quit and are able to tell you how much there life has changed for the better.

But the smile on all clients who leave the service quit,  especially at the 12 week stage always makes my job worthwhile. 

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