27 September 2016

Stoptober: ‘I’ve lost one leg – I don’t want to lose the other one’

Pearl Davies started smoking when she was a teenager and had been smoking 30 a day for years.

When she decided it was time to give up smoking, the stakes were high. A combination of diabetes and heavy smoking meant she had had a leg amputated six years ago, and she was having more and more problems with blood circulation.

“A few months ago the doctors told me I had to give up smoking or risk losing my other leg,” says Pearl, 52, who lives in the Whitehawk area of Brighton. “I knew it was time to take action.”

Pearl gave up smoking through a community support scheme funded by Brighton & Hove City Council’s public health team specially targeted at people who have a long term health condition and are housebound.

Through the scheme O’Flinn’s pharmacy in Islingword Road supported Pearl with weekly home visits.

Pearl said: “The pharmacist gave me nicotine patches and chewing gum, but I found I was able to stop using them after three or four weeks.

“I wanted to do it so much, and it’s amazing how much better I feel. I’ve not had the slightest temptation to start smoking again.

“I use a wheelchair and I’m not getting out of breath pushing myself around like I used to.

"I got all my clothes, bed linen and curtains washed when I gave up. I love the fact that my home doesn’t smell of smoke anymore and that my grandchildren aren’t breathing in smoke when they come over.

“Smoking isn’t just a filthy habit, it’s expensive as well. I’ve loved being able to give my grandchildren a few more treats with the money I’ve saved.

“To anyone who’s thinking of giving up smoking, I’d say definitely go for it. Just give it up. You need willpower but there is also great support available.

“If I can do it anyone can.”

Stoptober is a national 28-day stop smoking challenge starting on Staturday 1 October.

Kauser Essaji, owner of O’Flinns, said: “We know giving up can be difficult.

“But if you’re house-bound we will assess you at your home and agree not just a starting date but also a plan for which products and strategies will be best for you.

“We then follow this up with weekly visits, and also keep in touch by phone.

“As well as nicotine patches there are inhalers, lozenges, gums and nasal sprays. With all the different products and support that’s now available it’s never been easier to give up.”

Smoking cessation services in Brighton & Hove are funded and organised by the council’s public health team. If you want to quit smoking:

  • visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/stop-smoking to find a service near you, or
  • phone 01273 296877.

For access to a range of other free support search Stoptober online for app, email and social media support.