Halifax smoker who began at 15 becomes face of quitting campaign

Halifax man Barry Bentley
Halifax man Barry Bentley

A Halifax man has given his backing to a new campaign  across the region which hopes to raise awareness of the tools people can use to stop smoking.

Barry Bentley, 62, started smoking when he was just 15 years old. And now thanks to Yorkshire Smokefree Calderdale, he hasn’t had a single cigarette since last February.

The Hayley Court resident is now working alongside Cancer Research UK to encourage people to quit using support tools such as local Stop Smoking Services, GP prescribed medication and e-cigarettes.

Around half of Yorkshire’s smokers attempt to quit without any support but research has found people are three times more likely to quit for good using free local Stop Smoking Services.

Barry, who smoked around 30 cigarettes a day, said: “I used to wheeze and have pains in my chest and really suffered during the winter. I could hardly walk and had to give up work.”

The former smoker was diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and needed stents for blocked arteries as well as cervical spondylosis, cervical neuropathy and osteopenia.

He said: “It was a wake-up call and I knew I had to do something to change.

“I found the group sessions really helpful, knowing there were others in the same boat as me.

“I tried vaping this time. I soon began to prefer the taste over cigarettes, which started to taste really bad. I gradually cut down the nicotine strength until I got right down to zero.

“I feel better than I have for ages. I’ve got my colour back and everyone says I look really well. I am also back at work which means a lot to me.”

The window cleaner is pleased to say he has had his first wheeze-free winter.

He is saving around £70 a week and instead putting the money towards redecorating his flat, holidays and new clothes.

Barry said: “I will be retired in a couple of years and I am going to make the most of that time by being a non-smoker. I just wish I had done it sooner.”