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Inspiration: Madeleine Shaw

LESLEY KEATING: Sugar-free for a year and I’m glowing

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It can be very hard to give up smoking. Those who have never smoked may find this hard to understand, but we’re talking about an addiction here.

So if people have summoned up the determination to want to quit, they deserve help.

Because giving up smoking will not just benefit them and their health. It will mean they are less likely to need medical help and be a drain on the National Health Service.

We’re pleased to report today on a new helpline that has been launched to help people who want to stop smoking. The Quitline – run by the Southern Health Foundation Trust – takes you to an advisor, who will call you back with help on how to kick the habit.

Behind this service is the sensible realisation that, in today’s busy world, many people find it hard to get to a stop smoking clinic. So the best way to offer them support is when they need it and when they are able to access it.

And make no mistake, that support is crucial. People’s willpower levels differ and it can be so important to have the encouragement of others.

Of course, nobody is going to quit if they don’t want to. That has to be the starting point, because no amount of support, advice and encouragement will make any difference if the smoker concerned doesn’t have the desire to give up.

In 23-year-old Ayesha Batey’s case, she realised she needed to make changes in her life when she found she was struggling to run after her children. A smoker for 10 years, having three children has finally given Ayesha the incentive to quit.

In Ayesha’s case, she has started Quit4Life sessions at a clinic to help her and is also getting help from her health visitor. She has already cut back from 20 a day to just five a day and now aims to get to a point where she can stop altogether.

We applaud Ayesha’s determination and hope her story provides inspiration for others who would like to quit but are not sure how.

There is plenty of help out there that can match your lifestyle. Access it and change your life for the better.