David, an office administrator, said: “I started smoking when I was 16 and quickly developed a regular 20-a-day habit. My partner smoked too, so I never really thought about the health or cost implications.
“As I got older, I started thinking about how much I was spending, especially with the cost of cigarettes going up, so I decided to try and quit in order to save money. I tried several times using a variety of methods including patches, e-cigarettes, and nicotine gum – but each time I started back up again.
“Last year, my partner George and I both decided to quit as we thought we could support each another and it would be easier if we did it together. We knew we couldn’t just stop smoking, so we decided to try medication to see if would help. Unfortunately, we only lasted for a few months as we went on two holidays and ended up relapsing. We promised to quit when we got back home, but it was hard to break the addiction.
“Before the coronavirus pandemic started, we had been away, and I started thinking about how much we were spending on cigarettes. I worked out that if we both quit smoking, we could save around £6,500 a year between us, which is unbelievable. George and I agreed to have make another quit attempt after our holiday but then the COVID crisis and lockdown happened. Due to working from home and the stressful nature of his job, George is still smoking – however I’m hoping I can support him with my experiences.
“I was determined to go ahead and approached Newcastle Stop Smoking Service for advice and support. I was given Champix again and I found it much easier this time. By the third week of treatment my cravings had disappeared, and I have now been smokefree for three months. I have noticed the benefits – I no longer cough and I feel physiologically well. I just wish my Mum was here to see me, as she had nagged me for years to quit, but she has sadly passed away. She would have been really proud of me.
“As the whole country faces this major health crisis, it makes you realise just how important our health is. I want to do everything to give myself the best possible chance to stay fighting fit and protect my immune system. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health overall and I feel so happy to be finally free of cigarettes.
“My advice to anyone who is considering quitting smoking – is find the right time to quit, give it a go and find a method that will work for you. Don’t give up, keep trying as it took me several attempts to quit successfully.”
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