Ali successfully quit in September 2015 after 20 years as a smoker. Ali was born in Turkey and moved to London about fifteen years ago. He has lived in East London with his wife and teenage son since 2007. Ali started smoking whilst serving in the Turkish military.
Lots of Ali's friends and family smoke and smoking is very common among the Turkish and Kurdish communities in Hackney, especially for men; 43% of Turkish men in Hackney are recorded as smokers, and smoking is often seen as a way to relieve stress and as being a norm within the community. Ali was apprehensive about quitting, partly as it is so engrained in his culture but he was given the encouragement he needed after his wife successfully gave up with the support of the Hackney Stop Smoking service. Ali was ready to give up and was growing increasingly concerned about the impacts of smoking on his health;
Since giving up smoking 3 months ago, Ali has already noticed some positive changes in himself.
Alongside the health benefits, Ali and his wife could save up to £3000 a year collectively with the money they will save by not smoking. Ali would like to use these savings towards buying a house in Turkey for their son.
Ali was concerned about going to the Stop Smoking Service as he thought there might be language barriers between himself and an advisor. Luckily for Ali he was able to attend a Turkish language clinic and get support from a native Turkish speaker, Pinar, alongside using the medication Champix and nicotine patches to fight cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Pinar has been at the Stop Smoking Service for about 3 years. She started as a volunteer and is now a fully qualified advisor. Pinar found it really rewarding to work with Ali.
Pinar is one of many Turkish speaking advisors in Hackney. Turkish and Kurdish speakers who would like support to stop smoking can talk to someone in their native language in stop smoking services all over the borough.
Looking forward, Ali knows that there may be bumps along the road, but he has a method in place to deal with cravings.
Ali has had a really positive experience of using the service and is working hard to get as many of his friends as possible to follow in his footsteps.
As Ali himself was apprehensive about using the stop smoking service, he knows it can be difficult to pluck up the courage to seek help. He speaks passionately about helping others to take the leap.
Quitting can make improvements to your lifestyle and health in ways you might not expect.