Ade Fleet had been smoking for half his life before he quit with Derby City Council’s Livewell service. Suffering with panic attacks and mild depression, Ade (41) was worried that reaching for a cigarette was actually having a negative effect on his health.

“I was completely dependent on smoking and it was making me feel constantly on edge.  Work pressures saw my habit double to smoking 20 cigarettes a day and my nerves were all over the place. It took me four cigarettes to start functioning in a morning. I’d tried countless times to quit but always ended up relapsing, I just didn’t know how to do it.”

No magic answer but plenty of support

As a dad of two teenage daughters, Ade wanted to be a positive role model and most importantly be around for them in adulthood. He joined Livewell’s free stop smoking service in October 2017 – during the 28-day stop smoking campaign, Stoptober – and started seeing expert advisor, Antony.

“I hoped Livewell could give me a magic formula but I soon realised this doesn’t exist and that your own motivation is key to being successful.  Antony offered lots of practical advice and the opportunity to drop-in every fortnight for support and carbon monoxide readings.  Seeing my dangerously high CO levels reduce to that of a non-smoker was a fantastic start and being accountable to my advisor and my family kept me going, I didn’t want to let any of them down.”

Free treatments saved me £180

Livewell offers a range of free treatments including eight weeks of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).  Antony helped Ade figure out that NRT patches would be the best treatment to suit his needs.

“Patches proved to be a real crux in taking the edge of my cravings and getting them for free was a huge saving, it meant I started benefitting financially from day 1.  I also used NRT gum and lozenges as a back-up as and when needed.”

Life is so much different now

12 months on and Ade can’t believe the difference to his mental and physical health.

“I have more energy, my teeth are whiter and I feel mentally good – much more calm and relaxed.  Even my wife has noticed an improvement to my complexion. I have more time to do other things – it’s amazing how much time smoking was taking out of my day. I’ve noticed a difference in my fitness too.  It’s great to climb hills on my bike and keep up with friends without getting out of breath.”

“When I look back, it was Livewell and in particular, Antony that helped me to stop. And if I can do it, then so can anyone. The key is to not stop trying.”

Taking back control

Antony Belgrave, Livewell advisor believes that quitting can be incredibly empowering and support psychological healing as much as physical:

“When you quit, your body begins to heal within 20 minutes of your last cigarette.  Most smokers spend years tied to cigarettes and are desperate to stop but as time goes by, they feel powerless and weak. This can cause a gradual destruction of self-esteem. It’s a common belief that smoking helps you relax but it actually increases anxiety and tension.  It’s no wonder that so many long term smokers suffer from depression and anxiety.

Inspired by Ade’s story? Get started now

Livewell offers 12 months free support and free stop smoking medicine (conditions apply) to people registered to a Derby GP practice. Apply on our website.

For more information about Livewell’s other lifestyle services, which include funded 12-month programmes to lose weight, visit our website.

In good company

3500 people in Derby have achieved a four-week quit with Livewell. Studies show that you’re up to five times more likely to quit successfully if you use a combination of stop smoking medicine and specialist help and support from a service like Livewell.

Ade’s Top Tips

  • For the first week, I used an e-cigarette in the evening but as I didn’t want to replace one addiction with another, I stopped this once the cravings had eased.
  • I read Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking. There were some key messages that really got through to me that I was able to draw upon during difficult times. I recommend this if you are a reader and have the time.
  • Save the money and treat yourself at specific milestones – a small treat at the end of the first day, week, month etc.
  • Be proud of your own determination and will power, let 1 hour, 1 day and 1 month feed the next. This makes the process easier if you are positive about your own determination.