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Giving up smoking - patient story

Linda is a patient at Lockside and has shared her story of her journey to stopping smoking

It was the late 1960's and I was starting my training as a cadet nurse at Ashton General, 16 years old and terrified! 

They put me in A&E which, in later years would become my specialty, but at that stage I was expected to fade into the background.

This was fine until my second day when we had a multi-car crash and toddler in a very bad way and everyone was too busy to realise that I was in the mini theatre watching everything.

That day has stayed with me ever since and I was going to run home to my mum  when a huge arm reached out and stopped me in my tracks!  The senior sister grabbed hold of me, took me outside and gave me a cigarette.   It is worth pointing out that I had never even tried tobacco but this was an age when smoking was acceptable and very common with doctors and nurses as it was seen as a way to 'de-stress'.

So began 40 years of smoking, gradually increasing to 20 plus a day.  Even when the health warnings became too much to ignore I did. Even when I developed kidney cancer I carried on regardless which does in no way fit with a long list of academic qualifications or what I always thought I had - common sense! 

Then 12 years ago I developed heart disease from unstable angina to Ischaemic heart disease and required angiograms and stents on two occasions.  

Suddenly something had changed.  Did I want to see my son marry and my grandchildren grow up?  Did I want to be able to breathe without struggling and walk more than 10 metres?  Why had I been so stupid for so long?

I took advice from Dr Richard Bircher and began smoking cessation sessions with some medication to help me beat the addiction.

Was it hard?  Yes very 

Was it worth it?  Absolutely

12 years on my palpitations, breathing, A&E visits, an inpatient on cardiac wards over and over again are all a thing of the past and I know this is due to me stopping smoking. It is never too late! 

Family, healthcare professionals and myself know that I would not be here now if I had not quit.  I got to see my son marry and my grandchildren grow up and now have two great grandchildren I wouldn't have had the pleasure of seeing play.


Do it now.  Get help.  If I can do it so can you.  Stop smoking.

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