Giles started smoking when he was 18 years old and before he became smoke-free, he was smoking between 15 – 20 cigarettes a day.

Giles developed a persistent cough which hurt his throat and lungs, he believes this was caused by smoking. He saw this as a warning sign and knew that it was time to quit, or his health would continue to suffer. In addition, knowing that the lifespan of smokers is shorter than non-smokers, he wanted to do what it takes to live a healthy life and live for longer to see his grandson grow up.

Giles already knew about our stop-smoking services through a Stoptober event at work and decided to give us a call. He was promptly connected with our NHS Health Improvement Practitioner, Alyson. Giles said: “I got on well with Alyson, she is an effective adviser…not pushy and gave me a great deal of information about all the nicotine replacement products available.  She told me that using a vaping product as part of my quit attempt has some of the highest quit success rates and so I decided to give it a try.” Alyson supplied him with a vaping kit and three months’ supply of vaping fluids as part of our Swap to Stop vaping programme.

Giles said he enjoys vaping, especially because it gives him that hand-to-mouth movement that he missed after quitting: “Vaping was a great way of dealing with cravings, it helped me because the hand-to-mouth action is like smoking, plus you get similar sensations, like the hit at the back of the throat which I enjoyed.”

Giles is so pleased he has become smoke-free, noticing not only immediate improvements to his health but loves not smelling of cigarette smoke anymore and the major financial improvements. Giles admitted that he felt self-conscious about the stale smell of cigarettes that lingered on his breath and clothes after having a cigarette: “I’m so pleased I don’t smell of stale cigarettes anymore and I’ve saved so much money that I could afford to buy brand new tyres for my car!”

Alyson’s advice to change his routine to avoid the things he associated with smoking was particularly helpful: “I needed to break the psychological habit of smoking. As I craved a cigarette after coffee, Alyson suggested I change my drink and it worked! Instead of standing outside with other smokers on my break, she suggested I go for a walk and have some thinking time instead. This was essential, otherwise I would have drifted back into old habits.”

Alyson also recommended the NHS stop smoking app and Giles found it useful, particularly the cost calculator that made him realise the major financial impact of smoking: “I liked seeing how much money I was saving, that was a big motivator. It also keeps a record of how many days I’ve been without a cigarette and sends congratulatory messages which spurred me on.”

Giles offers the following advice to anyone considering becoming smoke-free: “I’ve heard a lot of people talk about going “cold turkey”. This is hard to do. Get advice from a stop-smoking adviser and other ex-smokers, they’ll be able to tell you how it feels and what the real motivators are. If you do have a cigarette, don’t beat yourself up, just get back to quitting.”

Gile’s adviser, Alyson said: “Giles attended my Saturday clinic at the Cumberland Centre and it was clear as soon as I met him that he was determined to succeed in his quit attempt. Giles had already put a lot of thought into the challenges he might face and this forward thinking and planning was really helpful to help him avoid potential tricky situations that might have resulted in relapse.

It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to support Giles as he progressed and he was always open to exploring any difficulties he faced to help develop a positive plan to move forward, ultimately resulting in Giles becoming a successful quitter. It was lovely to have been a part of Giles’s journey to a smoke-free, healthier and more prosperous future!”