Health care assistant Ali Musaid took the plunge to quit for good in June and says his health and wallet are feeling the benefits.
Ali, aged 55, from Chesterfield found out about Live Life Better Derbyshire through his work at Chesterfield Royal Hospital and decided to give it a go.
Ali, formerly from Birmingham, said: “I had been meaning to stop for a while now as it is a lifestyle choice really and moving up north I didn’t want to have to go outside in the cold for a cigarette!”
Ali, who enjoys singing, is already feeling the health benefits of quitting – in fact he said he already has better lung capacity.
He adds: “Also it’s great not to feel reliant – it’s horrible to feel you are addicted, that you have to have it, it’s a horrible place to be and I wanted away from it.
“I had managed to wean myself down to about 30g of tobacco a week – but that’s still about £15, so that’s around £60 extra a month that I’ve got in the coffers.”
He was pleasantly surprised about how informal and friendly the sessions are. “It’s just a drop in centre, there’s no pressure, no hassle, and you’re not sat there waiting for a doctor’s room.
“You go, in have a chat, and they take our carbon monoxide readings which is essential to see how well you are staying away from tobacco.
“They offer you encouragement and ask you how your week went – the really good things you did, the bad things you did.
“If you want a bit of a boost, if you were feeling down, they give you a bit of a help or they will celebrate with you when you’ve had a great week.”
Even if you don’t succeed at first, the advisors are on hand to help you get back on track. They’ve seen it all before and offer help not judgement.
Ali says: “The first weekend I did smoke – I had a couple of cigarettes and when I told them it wasn’t a slap on the wrist, it wasn’t even a look of disdain or disappointment.
“There were no wagging fingers – none of that, just ok you’ve had a cigarette, right, try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
He is a keen ambassador for the service and the support on offer saying: “The support was amazing, they’re a really good bunch of guys – they are all very nice, friendly people and it’s all about encouragement.
“I thought, I have signed up for this, it’s a council service and I am going to have to do it or it’ll be ‘if you don’t see it through we are going to put your council tax up’!
“But it’s not like that. They are really really friendly human people, helping us through a bad time.”