04 March 2011
A man who smoked for more than half a century has praised Jersey's Help2Quit smoking cessation service after giving up cigarettes.
James Wright (68), who smoked for 54 years, has not had a cigarette for over 3 months and says he credits Jersey's dedicated service - and stop smoking nurse advisor Richard Hill - with his success.
He is telling his story as No Smoking Day (9 March) approaches.
He said "In the 1950s, when I began smoking, everybody smoked. My parents did, my teachers did, my friends did, and sportsmen did - so I did. I tried to give up twice before. The first time was about 7 years ago and I tried without using any aids except an inhalator. I lasted about 3 very unpleasant weeks and then went back to the cigarettes. The second time was about 3 years ago and I used Zyban - I lasted 1 day.
"I knew that giving up smoking was something I had to do. It was stupid, dangerous, anti-social and expensive. I no longer enjoyed cigarettes; I was merely smoking in order to keep the nicotine craving under control. I decided that as I had failed before, on my own, I should try and use any assistance I could get my hands on.
"I had heard of the Help2Quit service so phoned them and they set me up with an initial assessment / interview with Richard Hill. He offered me a number of aids including patches, gum, inhalators and Champix, a drug which helps to lessen the cravings you experience when you give up.I chose Champix and with Richard's help set a day when I was going to quit.
"Richard also arranged a number of meetings (initially weekly) with him or his colleague Louise, to monitor my progress and provide ongoing support and encouragement. The meetings were a great help and also gave me the feeling I didn't want to let down Richard or Louise (or myself) by relapsing.
"My advice to other smokers would be that it is never too late. I was dreading attempting to give up after my previous failed attempts but this time I found it comparatively painless and craving free. From time to time I'll think ‘I would still like a cigarette’ but it is a thought I can handle easily by using some of the techniques taught by Richard and Louise.
"My breathing is better, my golf trolley seems lighter and, strangely, I feel less stressed. I also save approximately £2,750 a year. I calculate that I have spent a total, at today's prices, of £175,000 over the last 54 years."
Richard Hill said "I am really pleased that with our support, James is still not smoking after 3 months. It is also very rewarding to hear the positive impact stopping smoking has had for James.
"The Help2Quit team see over 1,000 people each year. Of those who set a quit date, 50% have still quit after 4 weeks. It is recommended that Stop Smoking Services should achieve quit rates of 35% or above at 4 weeks, and Help2Quit are currently much higher than this. It is never too late to stop smoking."