Thinking of quitting? Hitchin woman speaks ahead of No Smoking Day about how she did

Vivian O'Reilly was a smoker for 30 years before deciding to quit. Picture: Archant

Vivian O'Reilly was a smoker for 30 years before deciding to quit. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A Hitchin woman has spoken about her experience of quitting smoking and how it has changed her life ahead of No Smoking Day tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s annual awareness day is designed to help people quit smoking, taking place on the second Wednesday of March since 1984.

Vivian O’Reilly quit smoking last year amid concerns about her health.

Speaking about her experience, she said: “I had tried to quit in the past, but probably wasn’t really ready.

“It was my age that prompted me to quit in some respects. I really didn’t want to be smoking at 50.

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“Also I had a bit of a scare. I was worried about a lump in my throat and had all sorts of tests.

“I told myself that irrespective of the results it was enough to make me do something.

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“Everything was fine, happily. My GP told me about the stop smoking clinic so I booked an appointment.

“I absolutely feel that the stop smoking service has helped me to quit. I spoke to my advisor when I was struggling, she was non-judgemental.

“I’ve really surprised myself. I haven’t fallen off the wagon at all and my willpower isn’t the best, usually.”

The Hertfordshire Stop Smoking service supports people trying to quit smoking, with the adult smoking rate in the county down from 13.5 per cent in 2016 to 12.7 per cent in 2017.

This is lower than 14.9 per cent of people who smoke across the whole of the UK.

“Smoking remains the biggest cause of death and ill health in the country,” said Herts County Council’s cabinet member for public health, Councillor Richard Roberts.

“Quitting smoking has great benefits for the health of not only those who give up, but also for the people around them.”

Vivian added: “I am now an ex-smoker and I’m not going to waver.

“I do feel better in myself for stopping smoking. I can breathe! I used to take the lift at work and now I walk up the stairs, sometimes I run up the stairs.

“Once you make that decision to quit, you will never be more proud of yourself when you look back after those first couple of months.

“It’s that which will drive you on. It is a journey – it’s not easy, but the sense of achievement with each month is massive.”

For help to quit smoking visit, text SMOKEFREE to 80818, or call 08003 893 998.

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