A HEAVY smoker from Tameside has shown how it’s never too late to quit and improve your health after stopping his 50-year habit.
Roy Hallsworth, 63, used to smoke 40+ roll up cigarettes per day, without a filter. He’d never thought about giving up until two recent strokes and a stay in hospital, when he was advised by medical professionals to quit to improve his health outcomes.
Roy, who lives with his wife, Lynn, has long-term health conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, vascular dementia, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnoea.
He thought he’d be a smoker for the rest of his life and wants to inspire other heavy smokers who don’t think they can give up by sharing his story in support of Better Health – Stoptober. Back for its ninth year, the campaign is reminding all smokers that now more than ever, ahead of flu season, is the time to put your lungs first, quit smoking and breathe easier, by joining the nation’s biggest quit attempt from 1 October.
Smoking damages the lungs and airways and harms the immune system, leaving us more vulnerable to infections, such as flu. Smokers generally have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infections and experiencing more severe symptoms. Stopping smoking brings immediate benefits to health, including for people with an existing smoking-related disease.
In an attempt to help him quit smoking, with Lynn’s support, Roy contacted Be Well Tameside as smoking had become part of his life. He received one to one support from advisor, Megan Horan and was offered behavioural support alongside.
He’d already tried patches in hospital but they caused skin irritation, so he tried a different type, which also caused a reaction. He’s now using a nasal spray and lozenges, keeping him smokefree for almost 12 weeks.
Roy said: “Since being home I was smoking heavily again, as it was all I had to do. I was living downstairs and housebound.
“I smoked for over 50 years and I can’t believe I’ve managed to stop. I still get the odd craving but it is now more of a reflex where I will just be so used to reaching for a cigarette. I remind myself I have stopped and I think about how far I have come.
“My taste has come back and sense of smell, so much so, that some foods don’t taste the same as they used to. I’m also not coughing as much and can notice the difference.”
Public Health England’s 28-day Stoptober challenge has free quit support available for smokers including its Smoke Free app
and free quit kits
As well as quitting being the single best thing for health, research shows that it can save a 10-a-day smoker around £165 a month[i]
, as well as improving mood and relieving stress, anxiety and depression.
Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Population Health, Councillor Eleanor Wills, said: “Well done Roy on stopping such a deeply ingrained habit and it just goes to show how it’s possible to quit and improve your health, even after 50 years of smoking.
“Stoptober provides the information and support you need to quit smoking for 28 days, based on research showing that if you can make it to 28 days smokefree, you're five times more likely to quit for good.
“We know we’re stronger together. This Stoptober, join us and all the people who have already quit smoking this year to feel better, save money and to breathe easier.”
There are more ways to quit than ever before:
- Get support from your local stop smoking service where you can see a friendly, trained adviser
- Nicotine replacement products and stop smoking medicines are available from shops, pharmacies and on prescription to help you manage withdrawal symptoms. Get some advice to help use it.
- Switching to an e-cigarette has helped many smokers stop. In the UK, e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality and PHE research has found them to be 95% less harmful than tobacco.[ii]
to find details of stop smoking services and support across all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester or call the NHS Stop Smoking helpline free on 0300 123 1044.
This year, Stoptober is offering a range of free support tools for those looking to quit, including digital services that are easily accessible for those looking for online support. These tools include the Stoptober app, Facebook messenger bot and online communities, SMS and daily emails. There is also a Personal Quit Plan that helps people find a combination of stop smoking support that’s right for them, with options including expert support from local Stop Smoking Services, stop smoking aids and digital tools.
Search ‘Stoptober’ now for a full range of quitting support options.