Please tell us approximately how old you were when you started smoking?
13 years old
How many years had you smoked?
Do you remember why you started smoking?
Yes, I thought it was so cool, all my mates smoked and although the first 2 weeks were awful with coughing and spluttering, I kept at it until got the hang of it, I wish I had never done it.
How many cigarettes per day were you smoking on average?
What were your reasons for quitting?
I had unstable Angina and had to have stents fitted, the consultant asked me if I smoked and when I answered yes he said "wrong answer" I knew then that I would have to try to quit but honestly I thought that was an alien concept for me
How did you access stop smoking support?
How would you rate the support you received out of 10?
Did you use stop smoking medication to help you quit?
Yes I did, I used 24 hour Nicotine patches
How helpful did you find it?
I found the patches extremely helpful
Apart from medication, what else helped you to quit and stay smoke free?
For definite there were three things that helped me, my mindset for one, once I had made up my mind I knew had to give it my best shot, secondly Lindsey, who phoned me every week and believed in me and I didn't want to let her down and also my Grandson had said to his Mum that he didn't want me to die and that really made me sit down and think.
Has your health improved since you quit and if so, in what ways?
Yes, mainly my breathing and I have more energy to go on walks with my family etc. I feel both mentally and physically fitter. I have no cough anymore.
Have you achieved anything since quitting that you couldn't do whilst smoking?
I feel empowered. I feel I am in control and I feel energized.
What do you like about NOT smoking?
I like telling people that I don't smoke, I like not smelling like an old ashtray and I am no longer a slave to nicotine and can eat when I want to, I don't have to use breaks as a smoking opportunity anymore I can sit down to eat instead which is also making me feel healthier.
Do you know how much money you have saved by not smoking?
Yes I do, I save at least £25 a week in a jar that I would have spent on tobacco.
Do you have plans to treat yourself with the money saved?
Absolutely, next week my wife and I are taking our grandchildren to Chester Zoo and staying over 2 nights in a hotel.
What would you say to anyone who has recently started smoking, or, if you could go back in time. what would you tell your younger self before you smoked that first cigarette?
I would tell my younger self when I was coughing and spluttering in those first 2 weeks to stop trying to get used to smoking, that I was signing up for a life of being enslaved to a drug that would eventually threaten my life, I would tell myself not to be so stupid and it was no cool. I am cross with myself for letting it make me ill before I realised that I was being used as a pawn by the tobacco industry to make them rich.
I would tell anyone starting to smoke to STOP IMMEDIATELY. This is coming from me, a bloke who thought giving up smoking was an alient concept, who thought nothing of getting up twice a night to smoke and to have at least 5 cigarettes before work.
Well look at me now, not smoked for three months and will never ever light up again.