North Tyneside grandfather backs No Smoking Day campaign
A North Tyneside grandfather has quit smoking after over 40 years and hopes to inspire others to give up on No Smoking Day.
No Smoking Day is on Wednesday 12 March and is run by the British Heart Foundation (BHF). It has a V for Victory theme this year to inspire smokers to win the fight against cigarettes.
Bryan Shelton, a 54-year-old machine operator from Shiremoor, was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) after the stop smoking service at Shiremoor Health Centre, which is provided by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, suggested he went to his GP
Barbara McElroy, public health nurse at Northumbria Healthcare, 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.
Bryan said: “I visited my GP recently after Barbara, who I have been going to see for several years to help me to give up smoking for good, suggested I should go.
“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. I am particularly very grateful to Barbara for getting me to visit the doctor.
“The times I have failed to quit have been periods of great emotional strain; both my wife Susan, who has now stopped smoking for three years, and I have struggled during these times.
“One occasion of heightened stress was when my brother-in-law became ill and died from COPD, so the fact I also have the condition has really hit home.
“The doctors have assured me that I can manage and live with the condition 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 McElroy, from Northumbria Healthcare, 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.
“No matter how old you are or whatever your reasons, it’s never too late to quit. You are four times more likely to quit for good with NHS support and once you quit the health benefits can be almost instant and long lasting.”
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust provides stop smoking services in Northumberland and North Tyneside. For more information visit www.northumbria.nhs.uk/stopsmoking