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Publication Date: 23/12/2009 

Stop Smoking Service Success 

Former smoker praises NHS Lanarkshire service 

John Hailes with son Shaun and wife Michelle 

"Never felt better": John Hailes, who gave up smoking after almost 30 years, with son Shaun and wife Michelle 

Former smoker John Hailes has never felt better since NHS Lanarkshire’s Stop Smoking Service helped him quit.

And the 42-year-old’s wife Michelle and seven-year-old son Shaun are also reaping the benefits.

John, from Halfway, Cambuslang, had smoked since he was only 13 years-of-age and had never managed to give them up, despite several attempts.

Within three weeks of attending the NHS sessions, however, he had quit.

With a new lease of life – and more money in his pocket – John bought mountain bikes for the family and they all now enjoy regular cycling trips together.

He said: “I’d tried everything from acupuncture to hypnotherapy but nothing worked.

“Smoking between 20 and 30 a day was not only expensive – about £45 a week - it was having an effect on my health.

“When I got up in the morning it took me about 15 minutes to catch my breath and I’d then have a couple of cigarettes and a coffee instead of breakfast.

“Shaun also hated the smell.

“I was determined to give up and so want along to the stop smoking service.

“It’s been absolutely fantastic. I started in May and within three weeks I’d given up.”

Quitting has proved to have a massive impact on John’s life.

He said: “With the money I saved I bought myself, Michelle and Shaun bikes and every couple of weeks we now cycle along the Forth and Clyde Canal from Glasgow to the Falkirk Wheel.

“If you don’t smoke it’s hard to imagine the difference giving up makes to your life.

“The difference in energy is amazing and you can also taste and smell things you never did before. You enjoy food again, and to my surprise I’ve developed a great love of seafood, especially sushi!”

The NHS Lanarkshire stop smoking groups provide help to quit with support from stop smoking advisors and other quitters.

Groups are held on a weekly basis for six weeks with two follow-up sessions. Free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is also available.

The first meeting involves discussing nicotine addiction, smoking routine and habits as well as group members sharing ways to quit smoking.

The stop smoking advisors will also test the carbon monoxide levels in your breath to monitor your progress and keep you motivated.

John said: “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the service to other smokers.

“The sessions are actually something I enjoyed going to, we had a good laugh and you take support from the other people trying to quit.

“The stop smoking advisors were brilliant as well and I can’t thank them enough as they’ve changed my life.”

Lynne O’Hare, smoking cessation co-ordinator for Cambuslang and Rutherglen locality, said: “John’s experiences show this service really does work and the benefits stopping smoking brings.

“Smokers who quit can reduce the risk of serious illnesses such as cancer, stroke and heart disease.”

For more details on the NHS Lanarkshire Stop Smoking Service call 08452 17 77 07 or text ‘Advice’ to 81066.