NEXT week people all over the country are being asked to stub it out as part of this year’s National No Smoking Day.
In 2010 around one million people attempted to quit as part of the campaign which is being held this year on Wednesday, March 9.
Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable disease and premature death in the country.
And shockingly, nearly a quarter of smokers die in their middle ages, according to figures released by the NHS.
But ask any former smoker what the hardest part about quitting is and they will often say the same thing:
Beating the physical cravings may be tough, but getting out of the sheer routine of lighting up at certain points of the day can provide the biggest challenge.
One man facing a bigger challenge than most is Barry Davies, 71, who gave up smoking two months ago after 55 years of lighting up.
Barry, of Kilburn, smoked 20 a day since starting at the tender age of 16.
“Smoking has been a massive part of my life,” admitted Barry. “It was basically like a drug. Once you were hooked that was it.”
But eight weeks ago yesterday, Barry gave up a habit which he hopes he has banished for good.
He now goes once a week to sessions at the Amber Pharmacy in Horsley Woodhouse, where he has to blow into a machine that measures his carbon levels. And there is no having a crafty ciggie in between sessions as Barry said the machine would pick up on that!
On giving up, self-employed insurance investigator Barry cited social and health reasons. He said: “I decided to have a crack at it.
“You become something of a leper. I used to like one at the pub quiz I go to once a week, but you cannot smoke in pubs any more. And there was no enjoyment in standing in a shelter in the wind and rain. You can’t smoke when you go for a meal in a restaurant either.”
Barry, who has a wife Margaret, two children and three grandchildren, discussed giving up with his GP and began using nicotine patches.
“I have surprised myself,” said Barry. “It hasn’t been as much of a problem as I thought it would be. And the support I have received has been fantastic.
“It goes through your mind that I miss them, especially at certain times of the day. I don’t think you ever get over the craving, but it is just a case of having the willpower.
“Although the biscuit barrel has taken a bit of a hammering!”
Barry pointed out two benefits to him giving up smoking. He said: “I enjoy my food better and I am saving money, which is beneficial to my wife and family. I have a bit of extra money that can go on a holiday or the kids, otherwise it would have gone up in smoke!”