Ali’s two-step stop smoking formula sounds deceptively simple, but he doesn’t underestimate the challenges involved:
"First, you need to be really desperate to stop, that’s the main thing.
And the second thing is the help from the service, which is really good. It’s very difficult, but you can do it. And the person that’s going to benefit the most is yourself."
Ali’s stall on Ridley Road market, which he’s had since moving to Hackney from Iraq 10 years ago, turned out to be an unexpectedly fortunate spot. He had tried to quit by himself before, with limited success; this time, though, it was different.
Before he quit, Ali was smoking 30 cigarettes every day - and had been for 12 years - but he was able to stop completely with the help of nicotine patches, gum, and an inhalator.
Ali has since started using an e-cigarette, which he’s found to be a useful support tool
Ali has repaid the favour by becoming one of the Stop Smoking team’s loudest advocates, both on and off the market. In addition to plying for trade at his own stall, he publicises the Stop Smoking Service when they’re at Ridley Road - in both English and Kurdish. This is particularly important as rates of smoking are very high in Hackney’s Kurdish-speaking communities, especially for men.
In case anyone is thinking about quitting, but isn’t sure that they can, Ali has a few last words of motivation:
And in terms of the benefits of quitting, Ali is unequivocal:
Quitting can make improvements to your lifestyle and health in ways you might not expect.