A grandfather who quit smoking after more than 40 years is hoping to inspire others to quit on No Smoking Day.
This year’s theme for No Smoking Day – on March 12 – is ‘V for Victory’ with the aim of inspiring smokers to win the fight against cigarettes.
Bryan Shelton, a machine operator from Shiremoor, was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) after the stop smoking service at Shiremoor Health Centre – provided by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – suggested he went to his GP
Barbara McElroy, public health nurse at the trust, had been helping Bryan with his battle to quit smoking when she became concerned that his shortness of breath and persistent cough needed to be investigated further.
“Although it was a shock to be diagnosed with COPD I was also relieved that I had gone to get the diagnosis as continuing to smoke without knowing would’ve quickly killed me.”
Bryan has not had a cigarette in two months and is determined to continue with the help of regular visits to the Shiremoor Resource Centre and support from Barbara and the team.
He said: “I have been trying to quit for five years and have fallen short of quitting on at least four occasions after varying periods of abstinence.
“Despite these times of weakness I have always been encouraged and never made to feel guilty by the staff at the stop smoking service.
“The doctors have assured me that I can manage and live with COPD but that I must continue to stop smoking otherwise it will greatly shorten my life and have a drastic effect on the quality of the life I have remaining.
“It’s important to raise awareness of No Smoking Day to help people to lead longer, happier and healthier lives with their families. If you are thinking of quitting my advice is to go for it as there is plenty of help available.”
Barbara said: “Bryan and his wife have been coming to us for a long time and although Bryan struggled to quit initially, he has always been determined enough to continue with the programme.
“I’m delighted that he has now stopped as it will have a lasting and positive effect on managing his COPD.”
For more information on stop smoking services visit www.northumbria.nhs.uk/stopsmoking