'It is not cool to be a slave to a poison' - former smokers encourage others to quit
PUBLISHED: 10:00 06 January 2018
North Somerset Council is urging people to go smoke-free after Public Health England (PHE) revealed last week almost 1,000 people had died from smoking-related illnesses in the area.
The Government agency found 996 people in North Somerset had died due to smoking-related illnesses and 25,244 people in the South West between 2014 and 2016.
To help reduce the number of deaths, the district council is offering support to smokers who want to quit the habit this new year.
Smokers are invited to team up with health trainers on a one-to-one basis or attend support groups to kick the habit and live a healthy, active lifestyle.
Weston man Michael Stennett, aged 54, had been smoking since he was 11 years old and would smoke 10-15 cigarettes a day but decided to quit for the third and final time in August last year.
He said: “I have wanted to stop smoking for a few years, but could not seem to get the right support, but this time I was truly motivated.”
Michael tried nicotine patches, an inhaler and gum before using Champix, a brand of tablets designed to help people quit smoking, which did not fuel his nicotine addiction.
He added: “I am no longer a slave to something which is very detrimental to my health.
“It is not cool to be a slave to poison and if only smokers knew how much better their life would be, they would take the leap.”
SmokeFree health improvement co-ordinator, Sam Matthews, added: “Mike still comes along to one of our groups. It is important we continue to offer support and motivation for those who have made the decision to quit.”
And Weston’s Alison Lippiatt, aged 49, quit smoking with the help of the council’s health trainers after she signed up in 2015 in the hope the ‘extra support’ would help her give it up.
Alison said: “I was not very confident I would succeed doing it on my own.
“My experience seeing Debbie Stone, a trainer, was very good. She was very supportive, easy to get hold of and appointments were set around my life and my busy schedule.”
After signing up for 12 weeks of stop smoking support, Alison quit her 18-a-day habit, saving £7,280 since October 2015 and feeling healthier.
To find out more about the SmokeFree campaign, visit the council’s website.