The smoke controls you. You don’t want it in your heart, but your brain tells you to do it. I would feel happy for a few minutes after I had a cigarette but then I would just feel upset and think why did I do that?

Ibrahim successfully gave up smoking in March 2015 after 28 years as a smoker, with the support of Yucan, a stop smoking advisor at Spring Pharmacy on Hoxton Street.

Ibrahim started smoking at the age of 15 in Maraş, Turkey, where he grew up. In his community, almost everyone smoked and it was the normal thing to do, so he did not think twice about starting.

Ibrahim continued to smoke into his adult years and he felt that the habit would help him in times of stress. He also found himself smoking more heavily to pass the time when he was bored.

15 years ago, Ibrahim moved to Hackney. He lives with his wife and two daughters and has several family members living in the same neighbourhood. A lot of his friends and family smoke, as do his colleagues at the restaurant where he works, and this has made it difficult for him to give up in the past. At one pointhe admitted, he was smoking around 30 cigarettes a day. He wanted to quit, he added, but,  felt powerless.

Ibrahim was apprehensive about approaching the Stop Smoking Service as he does not speakEnglish very well, and was concerned that there may be a language barrier between him and a stop smoking advisor. However, his mother in law told him that he could speak to a Turkish speaking advisor (Rucan) at Spring Pharmacy, and he got an appointment immediately.

Ibrahim was really determined to quit, and he says that one of the main reasons for this was his daughters:

My daughters hated it, they hated the smell; I would come in from work and go to give them a hug and kiss but they would say “no dad you’ve been smoking!” They are so happy that I have quit and they are so grateful to Rucan for helping me.

Ibrahim was so determined to stop smoking that he initially told Rucan that he didn’t want to use any medication to help him quit. However after discussing with Rucan about all the different types of nicotine replacement therapy and medication they decided together that he should use Champix, which works by reducing withdrawal symptoms and by stopping the addictive effect of nicotine.. This really helped him throughout the process of becoming smoke free.

Ibrahim says that quitting has changed his life and he never wants to smoke again. He adds “I hate the smell of smoke now” and feels passionately about helping others to stop too:

I’m so pleased that I quit, and the main reason is that my children and my wife are happy now. I’m going to help others to quit too…all of my friends and family that smoke, I tell them to come to the Stop Smoking Service…my cousin has already stopped. I tell them that if I can stop, then you can stop…save your money, save your life.

He has also noticed how much money he has saved since giving up the habit, alongside substantial improvements to his health:

Smoking is very expensive, I used to spend over £10 a day on cigarettes, it’s so much money. I’ve saved a lot since I stopped. I feel much healthier too – before I would get out of breath really easily and I was always coughing but now I can walk further and I feel so much better. I sleep better now too.
If I can give up smoking, then I can do anything!

Ibrahim’s next challenge now that he is smoke free is to have lessons to improve his English. He feels nervous about this but the confidence he built through giving up smoking has taught him a lot.

If you, a friend or family member would like to stop smoking, and like Ibrahim, English is not your first language, Hackney’s Stop Smoking Service can offer one on one support in a variety of languages including Turkish, Polish, Spanish, Urdu, Hindi and Gujarati.  

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

Smoking and your health›

Thinking about the reasons to quit is a great way to motivate yourself.

Why quit?›

Medications and nicotine replacement can double the chances of quitting smoking.

How to quit›