After nearly 60 years of smoking, 74 year old Thomas O’Reilly successfully quit on 3rd June 2015. A Hackney resident for most of his life, after having moved to the borough from his home town Dublin when he was a teenager, Thomas started smoking at 16. As with many smokers, Thomas’ habit began after being encouraged by friends to try a cigarette.
Thomas soon became a regular but fairly light smoker, smoking about five cigarettes a day, which progressed to much more with time. Thomas’ smoking gradually went up to 10 a day and then he started buying 20 packs. By the time he was 40 he was on 30 or 35 a day. Thomas explains that by this point, smoking wasn’t even something he enjoyed, it was more of an instinct and impulse.
Following the passing of two of his sisters in close succession last year, Thomas turned to smoking as a way of coping and began smoking around 50 a day.
Thomas has been working in construction for many years and his job is really important to him. Thomas decided that it was time to give up for good after a serious health scare earlier this year at work.
Thomas had tried to give up smoking several times over the years using nicotine patches, spray and lozenges but none of these had worked. With the help of Ela, his stop smoking advisor at the Lawson Practice, one of eight GP hubs in Hackney that run stop smoking clinics, Thomas found medication that worked better for him in the form of nicotine gum and an inhaler. Thomas also found that having someone to talk to and support him through the process has really helped him to remain strong.
Thomas is certain that this time is different to his previous quit attempts and that he is not going to start smoking again.
Although a lot of Thomas’ work mates smoke, they are really supportive of the changes that he has made and they are helping him to remain smoke free.
Since giving up smoking, Thomas feels generally healthier and is getting more sleep. However, the main way that Thomas has seen his life improve is in the money he has saved. He was spending £18 per day on cigarettes as a smoker and has already saved around £500 since he quit. Thomas has 12 grandchildren and two great grandchildren and he says the money he has saved will be spent on treating them.
Quitting can make improvements to your lifestyle and health in ways you might not expect.