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The journey to quit smoking for good: Patricia and Anthony's experience

The Yorkshire Stop Smoking Study, funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research, is helping hundreds of people to quit smoking. We spoke to Patricia and Anthony, who are receiving help to quit for good.

Patricia Hall

“I’m in my second week of stopping smoking, and I’m determined to stop for good,” says 82-year-old Patricia Hall. 

After speaking to a stop smoking advisor, Patricia began using a vaping device to help her quit.

Before getting this help to quit, Patricia had never considered vaping as a tool to stop smoking.

Vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking, and vaping products are the most popular stop smoking aid. It has been estimated that there are up to 57,000 additional quitters a year in England and 5,000 a year in Yorkshire because of them.

“I wouldn’t have thought about using a vaping product before speaking to the stop smoking advisors,” Patricia said. “I think their support has been really helpful.”

Although this isn’t the first time she has tried to stop smoking, Patricia is happy with the progress she has made so far.

She said: “I’ve tried to quit smoking in the past. I once stopped for five months but I ended up starting again. I think that by using the vape, I can quit for good. I’m really grateful that the advisors suggested I try using one.”

Patricia has health conditions that affect her lungs and has already started to feel the benefits of giving up cigarettes.

The benefits can be noticed immediately, and just 72 hours after your last cigarette, breathing will become easier.  

“I feel much better now that I’ve stopped. I’ve had a cough for years, but I think my breathing is better since I’ve started using the vape.”

She’s also seen other benefits since ditching the cigarettes, such as not having the smell of smoke on her clothes anymore.

Patricia is looking forward to many smoke-free years ahead. She said:

“I’m so thankful for the support I’ve had, this time I won’t be going back to cigarettes.”


Anthony Willis

Anthony Willis decided to quit smoking in April 2021 and has been committed to staying off tobacco cigarettes ever since.  

“I first started smoking when I was 11, and throughout my life I’ve probably smoked for a total of 40 years,” he said.

The 59-year-old initially planned to use nicotine gum to help him quit but chose to quit without a stop smoking aid. Instead, it was understanding the impact that smoking was having on his health that gave him the motivation to quit for good.

He said: “I’m getting older, and I really enjoy gardening and going for long walks, as well as working long hours, and I found that I was getting out of breath really easily.”

The 12-week support programme from the stop smoking advisors made a huge difference to his journey. Evidence shows that people are more likely to quit completely with expert behavioural support.

He said: “I think having a phone call every week with the stop smoking advisor definitely helped stop me going back to cigarettes.

“Having that support and being able to say ‘no, I still haven’t smoked’ was a really great feeling. It definitely got me through those critical first few weeks.”

Anthony says his physical health has improved since quitting. He has also seen the benefits of quitting in other areas of his life too.

“You go out with money in your wallet, and you come back and it’s still there. I can put that money towards something other than cigarettes.

“During stressful situations where I’d usually turn to cigarettes, I’ve found other ways to cope without them. I like to think that I’d never go back now.”

He continued: “I would encourage anyone thinking about quitting smoking to give it a go. We should all look after our health and one of the best ways to do that is to stop smoking altogether.”


Find out more about the stop smoking services available in Yorkshire