Shaun, 60, has recently stopped smoking with the help of the QUIT team in Barnsley. Shaun has schizoaffective disorder and has previously struggled to quit smoking whilst managing his mental health and wellbeing. Shaun has taken some time to tell us his story, to help inspire others to do the same.
“I used to buy 3 packets of tobacco a week so that was about 60 rolls ups a day. I knew it wasn’t doing me any good, so I managed to get down to about 20 cigs a day just on my own with willpower. Then I got a letter from my doctor inviting me to get help to quit and to get in touch with the community stop smoking service, but I didn’t manage to quit with them when I tried years ago. I think I had too much going on and I wasn’t well. Then my support worker mentioned to me that there was a Tobacco Treatment service specifically for patients with mental illness, so I thought I’d give that a try.
“She let the QUIT team know and Steve and Sharon came out to visit me at home. They sorted me out with some nicotine patches and lozenges which worked very well. They came out to visit me every week to talk to me which really helped. They were so patient and gave me a lot of support. I liked doing the carbon monoxide breath test each week as I liked seeing my levels come down and that kept me going. I blew 28 the first week which shocked me but then it was down to 2 or 1 most weeks after that. I struggled in my fourth week and at 6 weeks when I wanted to smoke again and had a lot of cravings, but Steve and Sharon would ring me in between visits if I needed and I got through it.
“I’ve been quit for 4 months now, and I feel so much better. I used to have trouble with my legs and now I don’t have a problem any more since my circulation improved. My appetite is better, and I feel a lot fitter, like I’m in my late 20’s again! When I used to go for a walk, I could really feel it on my chest but now it feels clear. Sharon said I looked grey the first time she met me but now I’ve got much more colour in my face.
“The main reason I wanted to quit was for my health, but I also realised that half my money went on buying tobacco. It didn’t bother me as much when it was cheaper but with tobacco prices going up, I told myself that if I quit smoking, I’d have it all to myself, so that was another reason to stick with it.
“For anyone else trying to quit smoking my advice would be to stick with the NRT no matter how hard it feels, and you’ll get through it.”
If you are thinking of stopping smoking, you can contact the QUIT team by calling 01226 644130. QUIT is a specialist tobacco treatment service for people in Barnsley with serious mental health conditions. They offer treatment for up to 12 months and will support you to gradually reduce as well as quit altogether.
For other enquiries about stop smoking contact the Yorkshire Smokefree Service – NHS Stop Smoking Service – Yorkshire Smokefree.