Grandmother-of-11 Tracey Stanier says quitting smoking is the best thing she’s ever done – and is urging others to follow suit and seek support.
The 48-year-old, of Abbey Hulton, smoked 20 cigarettes a day from the age of 11 before getting help to stop.
Three months ago she was able to stub out the habit for good, and says her health has improved dramatically. She is now encouraging others to sign up for Public Health England’s annual Stoptober campaign to get the support they need to quit.
Tracey said she was advised to stop smoking after suffering with ill health.
She said: “I went into hospital feeling very unwell and was told I had a severe chest infection and signs of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The consultant said unless I wanted to not be around still in five years, the best thing I could do was quit smoking.
“This was a complete shock and I felt very frightened of the future.”
Tracey sought help from stop-smoking provider Quit 51, which is commissioned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to deliver the service locally.
She had weekly meetings with an adviser, and says the support she received was invaluable.
Tracey said: “Seeing my stop-smoking practitioner every week was the best part of the service. She encouraged me every week and kept me motivated.
“Quitting smoking has changed my life. It has been tough – and some days are very hard – but with the help from the stop-smoking programme anyone can do it.
“I feel so much healthier now. I can smell better, I’m eating better and food has never tasted so good. And I’ve saved so much money, which is such a bonus.
“I can honestly say that giving up smoking is the best thing I have done.”
Stoptober is an annual, national campaign that encourages smokers across England to make a quit attempt during October. It is based on the insight that if you can stop smoking for 28 days, you are five times more likely to be able to stay quit for good.
This year Stoptober has developed a free online Personal Quit Plan to help smokers find the support that’s suitable for them, based on their level of tobacco dependency and any quitting support used previously.
In Stoke-on-Trent, 25.2 per cent, or 49,527, of adults (aged 18 and over) currently smoke compared to the national average of 14.9 per cent. In addition, 18.2 per cent of pregnant women smoke compared to the national average of 10.8 per cent.
But thanks to the support available in the city, from April 2017 to March 2018 2,389 people set a quit date and 1,632 were successful (for four weeks or longer).
Councillor Randy Conteh, the city council’s cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, and chair of Smokefree Stoke-on-Trent, said: “Stopping smoking is the best thing a smoker can do for their health, and it’s fantastic news that Tracey has been able to quit with the help of the stop-smoking service.
“It is well known that advice and support from stop-smoking services, plus medicines such as patches or gum, will strongly increase people’s chances of quitting. I would urge anyone wishing to quit to make use of the support available – at any time of the year, not just during Stoptober.”
Smoking can have devastating consequences for expectant mothers and their babies, increasing the chance of babies being born too small and too early. The good news is quitting is one of the best things pregnant mums can do – the harmful chemicals immediately start to reduce, meaning babies can grow and develop normally.
There is a range of support available locally, including face-to-face help and advice, the ‘Smokefree’ app, quit kit, email and text programme. For more information go to stoke.gov.uk/smokefree, call 0800 085 0928 or text ‘smokefree’ to 60777.
Call the press office on 01782 232265.