South Tyneside former smoker urging others to quit in Stoptober campaign

From left: Tom Hall, acting director of public health, successful quitter, Laraine McLoskey, Coun Tracey Dixon and Ailsa Rutter, Fresh director.
From left: Tom Hall, acting director of public health, successful quitter, Laraine McLoskey, Coun Tracey Dixon and Ailsa Rutter, Fresh director.

A South Tyneside woman who quit smoking after suffering a heart attack is urging others to kick the habit.

Laraine McLoskey, from South Shields, is backing the Stoptober campaign urging smokers to quit and reduce the risk of having a heart attack.

Successful smoking quitter, Laraine McLoskey from South Shields.

Successful smoking quitter, Laraine McLoskey from South Shields.

Laraine, head of operations at South Tyneside Training and Enterprise Network, said: “I was a smoker for 40 years, 20 a day typically. I’d tried to quit and failed many times over the years.

“I thought I was fairly healthy as outwardly I looked fairly healthy.”

Laraine thought she was suffering from indigestion, but in March this year suffered a heart attack and needed surgery to have a stent fitted.

She said: “I stopped smoking there and then and haven’t touched a cigarette since.

If I could give any advice to other people thinking about quitting this Stoptober, I’d say don’t wait until it’s too late

Laraine McLoskey

“There isn’t much better an incentive to quit smoking than having a heart attack. Not everyone recovers from, or even survives, such a serious condition.

”I’ve noticed many benefits since quitting. I definitely think much more about my health and lifestyle.

“I’m on medication for life, but I feel so lucky to be here today and I have much more of an appreciation for life now.

“If I could give any advice to other people thinking about quitting this Stoptober, I’d say don’t wait until it’s too late.”

Thousands of smokers in South Tyneside are being encouraged to take part in Stoptober as new data published shows quitting success rates are at their highest for at least a decade.

Stoptober now in its sixth year, which has inspired over one and a half million quit attempts since 2012 with nearly 50,000 sign ups so far in the North East.

The campaign is based on research that if you stop smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stop for good.

Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for independence and wellbeing at South Tyneside Council, said: “The number of people smoking in the borough has reduced in the last five years, but it is a sad statistic that almost 400 people still die in South Tyneside each year as a result of smoking.

“We are committed to reducing our rates still further by raising awareness of the health, social and economic issues linked to smoking.

“Quitting smoking is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your health and Stoptober is the perfect time to get help and support. I would encourage all smokers to get yinvolved in the campaign and kick the habit once and for all.”

Access to stop smoking support is available at local pharmacy or GP.

For more information from the NHS on smoking and help to quity, log onto: http://bit.ly/1avJOct.

Campaign will help people quit by using e-cigs.

Last year over half (53%) of all those taking part in Stoptober opted to use an e-cigarette as a quitting aid.

This year the campaign will feature e-cigarettes in the TV ad and will do more to encourage and support smokers who are keen to try e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking.

Ailsa Rutter, director of campaign group Fresh, said: “Most smokers have tried to quit before, so it is fantastic to see more people are now quitting successfully. Stoptober is another chance to

quit for good.

“The North East is now at a historic low for smoking with 17.2% of people smoking in 2016 compared to 29% of people in 2005. Smoking seems to be less desirable than ever before and quitting is much more appealing. The terrible health consequences stand out much more on cigarette packs, and electronic cigarettes have clearly helped many former smokers as a much less harmful gateway out of smoking.”

Robert West, professor of health psychology and director of tobacco studies at University College London, said: “Quitting success rates are higher than ever. I think the advances and wider choice of effective quitting options and a strong anti-smoking culture are fuelling this acceleration.

“Thinking about giving up may be daunting, but all the evidence shows there has never been an easier to time to stop. Quitting needn’t be the painful journey it used to be and the support you’ll get from Stoptober will increase your chances of succeeding.”