Islington Gazette reporter tries to give up smoking in name of Deborah Hutton campaign

With everyone at the Gazette doing their bit to support the Deborah Hutton campaign, I thought as the only smoking member of the reporting team, I ought to get involved.

The story of the charity’s namesake actually makes quite shocking reading for someone who partakes of the odd cigarette.

Deborah Hutton was a journalist who died of lung cancer after a brief dalliance with tobacco some 25 years before.

As a smoker of almost 20 years (it makes me wince just writing that), I thought it would be good to try to pack it in, even if just briefly, as a gesture of solidarity with the campaign.

On an average weekday I probably get through about five – maybe a few more on the weekends.

I have stopped for periods in the past, so I was fairly confident that quitting for a week would be a doddle. It didn’t quite turn out that way, however.

Having sensibly decided to start my seven-day abstinence just after our weekly deadline, I did find the first day fairly straightforward.

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Perhaps it was the fact I was working a 13-hour day which kept me out of trouble, but I went to bed on day one feeling quietly smug.

Likewise on the morning of day two, but then slowly but surely the craving crept up on me after lunch.

By the time the end of the working day approached, I had basically convinced myself I was going to have a cigarette as soon as I was out of the office.

Six o’clock came and I raced to the shop and spent the best part of a fiver on a 10 pack before greedily lighting one up.

After a couple of puffs, however, I felt pretty ashamed of myself and flung the hardly-smoked item to the floor before getting rid of the rest.

But it I think it was worth it, because that lapse made me realise how much I wanted to be in control of the cigarettes.

Despite quite a few wobbles and anxious moments over the weekend, I came through unscathed and as I write this I am just hours away from completing the seven-day stint with only a few blips.

I haven’t stopped smoking for good just yet, but it’s a start – and the Deborah Hutton campaign will make me think long and hard about every cigarette I have from now on.

And, looking to the future, it is now much easier to imagine my life without the acrid and pervasive stench of tobacco smoke.

n For help with quitting smoking, visit