No Smoking Day 1

Duncan's celebrating No Smoking Day after kicking 40-year habit

Odd-job-man Duncan Clamp hasn’t looked back since kicking his 40-a-day, 40-year smoking habit in June.

The 53-year-old has good reason to celebrate No Smoking Day today. Since giving up cigarettes he’s lost more than a stone in weight as well as saving hundreds of pounds in cash.

Duncan, from Oxford, gave up smoking almost overnight thanks to support from Smokefreelife Oxfordshire.

The stop smoking service is commissioned by Oxfordshire County Council’s Public Health team and run by healthcare provider Solutions 4 Health.

Public Health seeks to improve the health of local people and protect them from preventable health issues. It’s all part of the county council’s commitment to thriving communities – we help people live safe, healthy lives and play an active part in their community.

Smokefreelife Oxfordshire will be reaching out to more people like Duncan in Oxford city centre today. Specialist stop smoking advisors will be on hand to offer support and free Carbon Monoxide tests from their mobile clinic in Bonn Square between 10am and 4pm.

There are an estimated 57,695 adult smokers in Oxfordshire. Thanks to support from Smokefreelife Oxfordshire, more than 1,500 people quit smoking last year.

‘Seeing mum in a hospital bed made me want to give up’

Duncan approached Smokefreelife advisors on a visit to Templars Square shopping centre in Cowley.

He explained: “Eighteen months ago my mum was admitted to hospital and I saw her lying in bed with a ventilator on. She has lived with the lung condition Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease for the past 10 to 15 years.

“Fortunately she’s still with us today. But you can’t put into words how it felt seeing her lying there. That was the thing that made me want to give up.

“But even then I still found excuses not to. Eventually I spoke to people on the Smokefreelife stand and planned how I would stop.”

Duncan, who was diagnosed with COPD five years ago, had tried numerous times to give up but despite the use of patches could never last without a cigarette for more than two to three weeks.

“I wanted to try a method that didn’t involve that action of putting your hand to your mouth,” he said. “I asked for a tablet called Champix, which supresses your need for nicotine, and found things worked out really well. It was a 12-week course and proved the best thing since sliced bread.”

Final day of holiday marked final day of smoking

Duncan booked a holiday in Minorca with his partner Ann and decided that his final day on the Spanish island would be his last day of smoking.

“I had my last cigarette at the hotel and it was seven or eight hours before we got home. Going that long without a cigarette was like a world record for me and I just carried on from there,” he said.

“With any form of addiction you’ve got to break that cycle. I got started on the Champix, climbed on to my exercise bike and just kept on pedalling.

“I went through some grumpy phases but overall I’ve felt a lot calmer. I’ve got a lot more energy now and I’m keeping fit and eating a lot more healthily.”

Racking up the miles on his exercise bike while playing on the Xbox is all a far cry from smoking 40 cigarettes a day in his 20s and 30s, and then 15 to 25 rollies through his 40s and into his 50s.

“I started my first cigarette behind the monkey enclosure at London Zoo when I was 11 years old. Then I just carried on smoking at every opportunity to keep in with the crowd – it was peer pressure.”

The West Ham fan, who works part-time on the deli counter at Tesco in Cowley as well as carrying out maintenance jobs, says he now finds it easy relaxing in the company of friends who are smoking.

“If you’re not committed to giving up you won’t be able to. But it’s the best thing I’ve done. Now I feel more like a 23-year-old than I did when I was 23,” Duncan said.

One in five UK adults continue to smoke

While studies show that two-thirds of smokers want to follow Duncan’s lead, nearly one in five UK adults continue to smoke.

Liz West, Stop Smoking Service Manager at Smokefreelife Oxfordshire, said “No Smoking Day is the perfect time to motivate people to stop smoking. Smokefreelife Oxfordshire provides a free, local, tailor-made service to Oxfordshire residents using both face-to-face clinics, telephone support and online information.

“As smoking remains one of the leading causes of premature death in Oxfordshire and the UK, providing free support to smokers can help to reduce the risk of people developing smoking-related illnesses.”

“With support, smokers are more likely to succeed in stopping smoking for good. That is why Smokefreelife Oxfordshire is regularly is out and about in the county, not just on No Smoking Day, educating smokers on the range of local services and resources available to them.”

Make a positive change

Lawrie Stratford, Cabinet member for Public Health, said: “It is not always easy, but No Smoking Day provides an opportunity for people to think about making a positive change and stop smoking.

“Research has demonstrated that stopping smoking for 24 hours alone can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack, and this is the message we’ll be promoting today.”

Smokefreelife Oxfordshire offers free support to stop smoking online, by telephone or in person.

Call 0800 246 1072

Text QUIT to 66777