“I’m celebrating 2018 and my 50th year feeling great!”

So says Sue Banks, who is one of thousands of people in Derby to join the Council’s Livewell service to stop smoking.

Sue took on the Stoptober challenge in October ahead of her big birthday so she could celebrate being smoke free.  Now she’s happy to start 2018 in her 50th year, free of the addiction that was putting her at a higher risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a group of lung conditions that causes breathing difficulties.

Expert support

A smoker for 30 years, Sue had several failed quit attempts before joining Livewell.  Three months into her journey, Sue is hoping that her story will inspire others to reassess their lifestyle choices this New Year.

She said:

“The expert support I’m receiving from Livewell advisors, Paul and Darminder is second to none.  They helped me find the best treatment for me – a medication called Champix. This medicine, combined with continual encouragement whenever I need it makes it feel like someone is always holding my hand.  I see Paul weekly at one of the smoking drop-ins and they are both at the end of the phone in between if I need them.

“Right from the start, Livewell helped me to plan distractions and find ways to deal with different situations that could potentially lead to me smoking.  I keep as busy as possible with yoga, reading and do a lot more ironing as a result!”

Beating those cravings

Sue admits that quitting hasn’t been plain sailing, but says that she is delighted to have beaten her cravings:

“Some of my friends smoke but now I have no inclination to join them – the cravings have gone.  I found my last pack of tobacco and all the paraphernalia and got rid of it.  It’s been a big part of my life for so long but I found it very therapeutic to rid everything in my house that’s smoking related. It feels good to know that I no longer rely on a cigarette.

“I’m looking forward to getting into tip top health this year by improving my fitness and managing my weight.  There are lots of fun Livewell sessions like boxing, circuits and spin as well as a weight loss course that I can do for free as part of my 12-month programme which I can’t wait to get started with.”

Sue finished by saying:

“Livewell is a fantastic service that Derby people are lucky to have.  I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved and I hope that by sharing my story, more people will feel motivated to quit, especially as New Year is the perfect time to re-evaluate your lifestyle.”

Councillor Martin Repton, Cabinet Member for Integrated Health and Care said:

“January is always a really popular time for people to make a change in their lives – New Year, new you!

“Livewell is ready, able and willing to support people to stop smoking, lose weight, get fitter or all three if they want.  It is proven that people are five times more likely to quit using a specialist local service like Livewell.

“Just over a year ago I myself stopped smoking after more than 20 years, so I know the benefits that come with kicking the habit. With the Livewell service being offered for free, I would really encourage people to give it a go and see how much it could change your life.  Sue’s story is a brilliant triumph, and one of many that demonstrate the positive impact this service has on people in Derby.”

Feeling inspired? Livewell offers 12 months’ free support, stop smoking treatments and free exercise to people registered to a Derby GP practice. To apply and book a first appointment, visit the Livewell website.

For more information about Livewell’s other lifestyle services, which include funded 12-month programmes to lose weight, visit the website, or follow the team on Facebook or Twitter.