A Tameside man has successfully kicked his 20-year smoking habit, after seeking help from a local NHS service.
Gareth Paul, 37, started smoking as a teenager and smoked anywhere from ten to 40 cigarettes a day – a habit which has cost him an estimated £49,275*.
Gareth had tried to quit before and even overcame an alcohol addiction five years ago; but after an exciting start to 2019 when he and his fiancé found out they were expecting a baby boy, he decided it was time to quit the cigs for good.
He reached out to our Be Well Tameside service for some support with quitting.
Gareth said: “When you have that extra bit of motivation to help you quit, it really encourages you to keep at it and not give up when it gets difficult.
“Now we’ve got the baby on the way and our wedding next year, there’s loads of reasons to quit for good this time.”
Gareth started attending regular sessions with Be Well Tameside health and wellbeing advisor, Matthew Hutchinson, and after the success of his early meetings, he was confident he could stub out his habit.
Gareth said: “Matthew was brilliant from the beginning. He was very knowledgeable – he suggested I used the inhalator rather than the spray, as the spray contains traces of alcohol and he was aware of my history (with alcohol addiction).
“He was fantastic at fitting my appointments around my work patterns and was always there to talk to if I needed him.”
Gareth now hasn’t smoked since 11 June, which is also the day he became alcohol-free back in 2014.
After four months without a cigarette, Gareth is reaping the health rewards. He’s now breathing and sleeping much easier, and feels relieved that his cancer risk has lowered significantly.
“Cancer is something that runs across my family,” says Gareth, “Knowing the risk of getting cancer is reducing all the time is completely worth quitting for.”
Gareth’s success is also a massive plus for the people he supports in his job at Change, Grow, Live: an alcohol and substance misuse service in Tameside.
Gareth said: “I never share my own story to blow my own trumpet, but it’s good for people who are struggling to hear that there is hope - getting some help and finding something that works for you can make a huge difference.”
Lobna Begum-Haris, specialist stop smoking lead with Be Well Tameside, said: “Gareth’s story is a great example of how effective specialist stop smoking support can be.
“Stoptober is a great opportunity to make that commitment to quit smoking – you’re five times more likely to quit for good if you go without smoking for 28 days.
“We offer support all year round, so if you live, work or have a GP in Tameside, Be Well Tameside is here to help.”
Tameside Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Population Health, Councillor Eleanor Wills, said: “It’s a priority of Tameside Council to ensure smokers have the support they need when looking to quit.
“We’ve had the fastest drop in smoking rates in over a decade, and this is linked to the great work of services like Be Well Tameside providing vital support to individuals who want to kick the habit.”
For help with quitting smoking or to find out more, contact the Be Well Tameside team by calling 0161 716 2000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find Be Well Tameside Twitter and Facebook @BeWellTameside.
You can also visit: www.penninecare.nhs.uk/bewelltameside/
*Calculated based on 20 years of smoking 20-a-day, at an average cost of £6.75, using the NHS Smoking Calculator at: www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/cost-calculator