Help at hand to stub it out

Leigh Neilan with her daughters Addison (5) and Carys (2).
Leigh Neilan with her daughters Addison (5) and Carys (2).

A Wallsend mother is encouraging smokers to quit the habit.

As people try to give up smoking as part of the 28-day Stoptober challenge, Leigh Neilan has been offering an insight to those who might find it hard.

Leigh, a 35-year-old mum-of-two from Wallsend, is celebrating her first year smoke-free after quitting for Stoptober last year.

She said: “I started smoking at school when I was 16. I tried to quit a few times before, but my addiction was too strong.

“My husband is a non-smoker and he was always begging me to quit. I have two beautiful daughters and I wanted to be around to see them grow up.

“In the past when I’d attempted to quit I’d just gone cold turkey and it hadn’t worked. This time I visited North Tyneside Stop Smoking Service and their help and support has been invaluable.”

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Leigh added: “The stop smoking advisors referred me to Meadowell Clinic during my quit attempt, where I started taking part in boxercise classes.

“I soon swapped my addiction to cigarettes for an addiction to boxercise which is much healthier. Now I attend classes, swim and use the gym every week.

“When I was a smoker I used to feel so unhealthy, I had tightness in my chest when I was exercising. Now I feel so much better.

“If you’re thinking about taking part in Stoptober my advice would be to visit your local stop smoking service. I know I couldn’t have managed without their fantastic support and encouragement.”

Stoptober is offering lots of free quitting tools such as the quitting app and Stoptober pack, while local NHS Stop Smoking Services are helping thousands of people to go smokefree.

Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “Quitting smoking can sometimes seem like a tough thing to do, but with the right support it can be easier than you think.

“Remember, you’re not alone. This year there are more ways than ever to receive free national and local support and stay motivated for Stoptober.”

“If you smoke there’s countless reasons to stop. You will feel better in yourself, lower your chances of a serious smoking related disease like lung cancer, and have much more money in your pocket to treat you and your family.”