Tufnell Park man who gave up 100-a-day smoking habit backs ‘Stoptober’ campaign

Janet from Smokefee Islington with former smoker Peter Hunt

Janet from Smokefee Islington with former smoker Peter Hunt - Credit: Archant

An ex-smoker who went through 100 cigarettes a day has praised the Stoptober challenge and encouraged others to kick the habit.

Peter Hunt, who lives in Tufnell Park, quit smoking in June last year with support from the Whittington Hospital’s Smokefree Islington programme.

Mr Hunt, who was inspired to quit after being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), said quitting has changed his life and that anyone can do it with the right support.

Mr Hunt, 67, said: “Stoptober is a good campaign as it encourages people to quit. You have nothing to lose by giving it a try.

“I had been trying to quit smoking for years but never succeeded. After getting my COPD diagnosis in early 2013, I realised I needed to do something about it.”

Stoptober, the 28-day stop smoking challenge, traditionally starts on October 1, but Mr Hunt is urging smokers to start their own four week journey now.

At the time of quitting, Peter smoked around 70 cigarettes a day, but at times would smoke up to 100 a day. The diagnosis of COPD – a direct result of smoking – prompted Peter’s decision to quit.

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“I was referred to the Smokefree Islington service where I met Janet, a stop smoking advisor”, said Mr Hunt. “Together we set quit dates, looked at breaking habits where I smoked and discussed nicotine replacement therapy to deal with the cravings.

“Janet would also regularly check my carbon monoxide levels with a CO2 machine which would have quickly revealed if I had sneaked a cigarette. The thought of that machine was an incentive in itself not to smoke.

“Overall I had the right support, so I would say I didn’t find quitting too hard, once I had made the decision to do it. I was able to feel the results pretty quickly, I was less out of breath – a lot less puffing and panting – and I had more energy than I had in years.

“I have directly seen the effects of long term smoking. Some of my friends have been working for years to support their families, but then found themselves on a hospital machine gasping for breath, as a direct result of the years of smoking. When I see this, I feel lucky to have made the decision to quit.

“My message is if you want to quit smoking, you can. If you can manage seven days you’ve done the hard bit, after 28 days you’ve really done it.”

n For more information about Stoptober and for personalised support in quitting smoking, visit smokefreeislington.nhs.uk