Livewell supports Ana to kick 40-a-day habit – a dream she never thought possible.

“Nanna did you know that your lungs look like coal? Please stop smoking so you can be better.”

Hearing those emotional words from her grandson made Ana Richardson (49) from Sinfin take action after 31 years of smoking up to 40 cigarettes a day.

Health scare

Ana’s GP suggested she could have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) due to her persistent cough and aching chest. Luckily the tests were negative but Ana wasn’t chancing the debilitating lung illness being diagnosed in the future. The time had come to change.

My breathing was awful, my lungs hurt and my daughter could hear me coughing whenever I walked up the hill to her house. I want to care for my family and grandchildren not end up being cared for by them.

She had tried to break the addiction many times before, using nicotine replacement therapy including inhalers and patches but always ended up relapsing.

A different approach

This time she sought support from Livewell’s free stop smoking service run by Derby City Council. Her stop smoking advisor, Rania suggested trying a medicine called Champix (Varenicline) that works by reducing withdrawal symptoms, and by reducing the satisfying effects of smoking.

Despite desperately wanting to stop, I was convinced I couldn’t do it. I’d tried everything on the market to quit before but Rania put me at ease and gave me hope in trying something new. She gave me weekly encouragement and for the first time in my life I really believed I could do it.

After a few weeks of dropping into Livewell meetings, Ana continued her quit attempt with phone and text support. Rania shared helpful tips to beat cravings and provided motivation just when she needed it.

Feeling the benefits

That was just over 12 months ago and Ana is so proud that she’s achieved the hardest thing she’s ever had to do.

I can’t believe how good I feel. My cough has vanished, my clothes no longer smell and I’m so thankful to have my health – I give myself a little pat on the back every day. My husband, children and grandchildren are so happy and proud of me, there’s no way I’ll ever let them down and start again.

Ana’s success inspired her sister in Spain to beat the habit and Ana supported her by texting top tips. Even better, Ana has decided to celebrate beating smoking by shedding some pounds and getting fitter with Livewell’s 12-month weight loss programme.

Now I can do anything!

Inspired by Ana’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. To apply and book a first appointment, go to the Livewell website.
For more information about Livewell’s other lifestyle services, which include funded 12-month programmes to lose weight and improve fitness, visit the website or search Livewell on Facebook or Twitter.

In good company

2500 people in Derby have achieved a four-week quit with Livewell with 33% remaining smoke free at 12-months, triple the national average of 11%. Studies show that you’re up to four 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.

Ana’s Top Tips

  • Keep busy to beat cravings. I’d go for a walk or do housework whenever I felt a craving urge. Doing a hobby that keeps hands busy is also helpful
  • Remind yourself why you’ve stopped. I wrote myself a letter to myself and stuck it on the fridge to highlight what this means to my family. At difficult times it really helped to look at this
  • Remind yourself of the harm smoking caused to your health. I wrote a note of exactly how awful I used to feel with my coughing and chest pain and carried it with me ready to check whenever I had a wobble
  • Rewards – save the money you would have spent on cigarettes and treat yourself or your family to something nice or a trip/meal out.