TODAY, hundreds of people in the Portsmouth area are expected to throw out their cigarettes and take part in Stoptober.
And couple Sue and Geoff Phare are encouraging smokers to give the month-long campaign a go after the pair quit the habit earlier this year.
I’m so pleased not to have smoked for several months now and I feel so much better.Sue Phare
Both of them had been smoking for at least 45 years and said if they can quit, so can others.
Sue, from Eastney, said: ‘I started smoking when I was 21 and was originally smoking 20 a day.
‘Ten years ago I was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and as this got worse I did try to quit but a bereavement got me started again.
‘Earlier this year my oxygen levels dropped so low that I was facing having to spend 15 hours a day hooked up to an oxygen tank.
‘I knew then that I had to quit for good.’
Sue, 67, was referred to the well-being service run by Portsmouth City Council, which supported her to quit.
And on May 1 she became a non-smoker.
She added: ‘I’m so pleased not to have smoked for several months now and I feel so much better.
‘My breathing has improved and I don’t get out of breath so much or suffer with bad coughs and chest infections like I did.
‘I’m pleased not to be wasting money on cigarettes as it’s such an expensive habit now. Since quitting, I’ve bought a bike and go cycling with my daughter. There’s no way I would have managed this when I was smoking.’
Sue’s husband Geoff agreed to quit too having smoked for more than 55 years.
She said: ‘Quitting smoking is hard, especially when you’ve smoked for as long as we have. But there is so much support available.
‘If we can do it then other people can too.
‘I would definitely recommend that people give it a go and Stoptober provides a really good opportunity as lots of other people will be doing it as well so you can help each other.’
Geoff, 77, added: ‘It feels great to say I’m a non-smoker.
‘I was surprised by how quickly I noticed improvements to how I felt, especially after smoking for so long.
‘The money we’re saving is brilliant too and we’ve taken a trip up to Scotland with the extra cash.
‘I would 100 per cent encourage other people to give quitting a go, even if they’ve tried and failed before.’
The city council is supporting Stoptober which encourages people to not smoke for the whole of October.
Research shows that smokers who make it to 28 days smoke-free are five times more likely to quit for good.
Councillor Luke Stubbs, cabinet member for adult social care and public health at the council, said; ‘Quitting smoking is the single best thing someone can do for their health.
‘It’s great that we’ve seen a reduction in smoking in Portsmouth over the last few years but we need this trend to continue.
‘We’re fully behind Stoptober as it’s been shown to successfully help people quit for good. The range of different free support available means there is really is a method for everyone.’