Hackney resident Joanna Thomas gave up smoking in January 2015 after 40 years of smoking. She has tried to quit a few times over the years, but would start again in times of stress, or when socialising.

Every smoker knows it’s bad for them, but after a glass or two of wine it’s easy to think ‘I can just have the one’.

She decided to quit this year, mainly due to health reasons. She was recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and fears her health deteriorating as she gets older. Sadly, Joanna’s mother died of a smoking related illness a few years ago, and this has been a major factor in wanting to stop smoking.

Her first step in her latest quit attempt was to ask her doctor for help, who referred her to Hackney’s Stop Smoking Service based in a local GP surgery. She said:

“What’s important for me is to have the support from the stop smoking adviser, it helps me to maintain focus. It’s also important for me to have the service in a health setting, it feels professional.”

The text service feels personal and helps to reinforce the commitment, and the emails have useful tips and advice.

As well as one-to-one support, Joanna is also using Nicotine Replacement Therapy and has signed up for texts and emails. 

She also finds pictures showing the damage that smoking does to the lungs, mouth and teeth a powerful motivational tool. 

Her advice to smokers?

“You need to find your own way to quit smoking, it’s a very personal thing. At the same time, there is lots of support out there so you should try different things.”

Almost six weeks on since she quit, Joanna is more motivated than ever to stay off the cigarettes: “It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, in every respect. I hope it will improve both the quality and quantity of my life in the years to come.”

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›