Ex-smoker backs Yorkshire Smokefree Wakefield

Quit: Tony Holroyd says that the NHS services helped him to quit smoking after more than 30 years.
Quit: Tony Holroyd says that the NHS services helped him to quit smoking after more than 30 years.

An ex-smoker has backed a county-wide campaign to help raise awareness of the support available to smokers.

Tony Holroyd, 38, joined Yorkshire Smokefree Wakefield in an attempt to quit smoking.

Tony, who lives with his wife Leigh-Anne on Kings Mead, Pontefract, began smoking at the age of 10, after copying his older brother.

He was smoking as many as 20 cigarettes a day when he first attended Smokefree last June.

A keen mountain and fell walker, Tony began attending the sessions after noticing a change in his fitness.

He said: “I did a charity walk up Ben Nevis and when I got to the top I was out of breath.

“It was a bit of a shock and I knew then I had to do something about my smoking.”

Attending with his brother and sister-in-law, Tony was given a mixture of prescription tablets and professional help.

“In the first week I cut the number of cigarettes right down,” he said. “But by Friday night I struggled when I went to the pub and had a few.

“I knew I had to keep at it and soon stopped thinking about cigarettes when I went out. I made it through the next few Friday nights and haven’t smoked since.

“My breathing and stamina has improved and I’m not fighting for breath anymore.

“I have a heightened sense of taste and smell. Food tastes better and I didn’t realise how bad cigarette smoke smelled until I stopped.”

He is now actively enjoying the outdoors, and especially appreciates taking his puppy Duke for walks.

George Butterworth, Cancer Research UK’s senior prevention policy manager said: “Tobacco is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer.

“With this campaign we want to highlight the effectiveness of using support tools to quit smoking, so that smokers, like Tony, can find the tools that are right for them.”

Visit yorkshiresmokefree.nhs.uk to find your nearest Smokefree meeting.