Never felt better

At the end of her twelve week course of treatment with Hackney’s Stop Smoking Service, Abir Mohamed has never felt better – her teeth are whiter, she no longer coughs all of the time and her skin is better. After years of ill health and a series of difficult life events, she feels like her life is finally back on track.

Abir suffered from breast cancer in 2011. Though she quit smoking for a while, she started again.

“I was in Egypt and far away from my sons. I found it very difficult and I started smoking.” 
She started to heal from the cancer, but in 2013 her marriage broke down. A short time afterwards she had a stroke, from which she is still recovering. She became homeless, living in a hostel in Hackney. “I really looked at my whole life. It was a chance to clear out all of the things that weren’t working. Including cigarettes.” 

Expensive habit

She also realised for the first time just how expensive her habit was.

The hostel opened my eyes. People at the hostel couldn’t afford food, and I was spending so much money on cigarettes. When I quit I started to save the money I saved in a jar, then I would buy food with it and cook for people in the hostel

She made the decision to stop smoking, and asked her GP for help. He referred her to the stop smoking clinic based in Well Street surgery. The support of her stop smoking adviser, along with nicotine patches, have helped her to quit. “The adviser was a very good listener. When I felt nervous, or upset, she would reassure me and gave me good advice.”

Life is better than ever

She has recently been rehoused, and life is better than ever. She has a good relationship with her two sons, aged 21 and 17, and is making a good recovery from her stroke. Since quitting smoking she feels healthier than she has in years.

What is her advice to other smokers?

“You have to distract yourself”, she says. “Have a sugar-free lollipop or a sweet. Do something with your hands. And try to stay away from people when they are smoking.”

Quitting can make improvements to your lifestyle and health in ways you might not expect.

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