With No Smoking Day approaching on Wednesday 9 March, Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council are encouraging smokers to stomp it out under this year’s campaign banner of “proud to be a quitter”.
Everybody has their own personal reasons for wanting to give up smoking. Some people give up as part of a larger lifestyle change - to be healthier, to get fit, or to save money.
For others it’s more about how their smoking affects the people around them – their family, friends, and little ones. Whatever your reason sometimes motivation needs a helping hand.
Last year the council in partnership with the Public Health Agency and Closing the Gap Project joined forces with Tesco Direct based in Bridgewater Park, Banbridge to provide a six week workplace Smoking Cessation Clinic.
The initiative proved very successful for many participants, and one year on, Tesco employee Kevin Feenan has shared his inspirational journey.
“For 25 years I smoked between 10 and 15 cigarettes daily, I lost count of the number of times I gave up for good. My last cigarette, ever! Sadly this only ever lasted a matter of days at most before I found a reason to justify starting again.
“The truth was I enjoyed smoking. I had a routine and it centred on cigarettes and oddly enough no matter how many bills had to be paid I could always find the money for a packet of cigs.
“One day when at the smoking area in work the guys were talking about the stop smoking clinic being held that afternoon.
“I lit another cigarette, thought it over and decided it was finally time to quit for good. Off I went and had a one to one meeting with Frances, the Smoking Cessation Specialist.
“She explained that we would meet weekly and assess what support I would need to help get over the cravings and how my carbon monoxide levels would be tested. It was that straightforward. Every week, for six weeks I was assessed and kept focused and motivated.
“I am delighted to say I am now off cigarettes for over a year now and I haven’t missed them at all, even when socialising,
“I feel so much better. I am not a keep fit fanatic but I can honestly say that generally I just feel so much better on a day to day basis plus my bank balance is definitely a lot healthier as a result. I am truly over smoking.
“I would encourage everyone to get involved if simply because I now know that it is so much more enjoyable not smoking than being a slave to the craving. It is that simple for me and I cannot thank Frances and everyone behind the program enough.
“It was so much easier than I could possibly have imagined, there is nothing to lose but so much to gain.”
Stop smoking services offer free local help to anyone who’s ready to quit. Smokers that use these services are four times more likely to succeed in quitting. For further information on Workplace Smoking Cessation services, please contact Frances Haughey, Smoking Cessation Specialist on T: 075 0077 2905 or for information on smoking, how to quit, to order a Quit Kit and find out where stop smoking services near you are located visit www.want2stop.info.