DEAN Rogers has transformed his life after packing in the cigs he started smoking as a schoolboy.
The 43-year-old first lit up when he was11.
His habit peaked at 30 rolls-ups a day and it has left him with the lungs of a 65-year-old.
But now, after 32 years as a smoker – and having spent thousands of pounds on tobacco – Dean has finally managed to kick the habit.
He said: “The change has been amazing. I used to get out of breath but now I can just keep on going.
“I can taste food again and enjoy my food now.
“When I smoked I used to wake up every morning with a headache. But I’ve not had once since I gave up.
“I look back and think Why did I start smoking? I know for sure now that I’ll never smoke again.”
It was a health scare on holiday that proved the motiviation for Dean to quit.
A nasty cough developed into bronchitis and pneumonia and, once home, his GP referred him to the Calderdale Specialist NHS Stop Smoking Service.
At his first session, he was asked to give a carbon-monoxide reading – which shows how much gas is in the lungs.
A non-smoker’s reading is six. But Dean was horrified to find that his measured 43.
He said: “That was terrifying”
Dean first tried the drug Champix but found it wasn’t right for him and he was given vouchers for nicotine patches.
He said: “It was great to be to have a number of methods available and it’s not a one size fits all approach. The advisers look at what works for you rather than everyone else.”
At the free sessions, he listened to toehr people’s experiences of quitting and said the added support from other group membres made it easier to quit.
“When you smoke you’re always getting nagged about when you’re going to quit. But when you finally do your family don’t praise you constantly about the achievement you’ve made. The stop smoking advisers are great at giving you the pat on the back you need to keep going week after week and motivate you to stay on track. I thought it was going to be hard, but I’ve not had any problem at all.”
Mr Rogers said he used to have serious difficulty breathing if he walked anywhere, but after just nine weeks as a non-smoker he is now able to walk the dog every night without feeling breathless.
He said: “My advice to anybody who is thinking about quitting is contact your local stop smoking team. They’ve been fantastic for me and really help you out. They are always at the end of the phone if you’re struggling and I look forward to seeing them each week.”
The Calderdale Specialist NHS Stop Smoking Service offers free help and support for smokers who want to quit and help more than 1,500 people give up every year.
Contact the team on 01422 281505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.