A WIGAN couple are urging smokers across the borough to quit the habit in 2013.
One in five people in the borough smokes (58,652), according to the latest figures and Wigan Stop Smoking Service wants more people to follow the example of Ashley Mead and Andrew Topping who quit smoking together last year.
The pair, both 27, have been smoke-free for eight months after contacting the stop smoking team and say life has never been better for them.
Both had tried many times before to quit without success and health experts say that you are four times more likely to succeed with help from the stop smoking team.
Since starting smoking at school, the Atherton couple had both tried to stop several times on their own, but it was only following a visit to her physiotherapist that Ashley was referred to Wigan’s Stop Smoking Service.
Ashley said: “I found it difficult asking for help and was a bit apprehensive about what to expect from the appointment but Sue, the Stop Smoking Advisor, put me at ease and was non-judgmental.”
Andrew also decided to quit and they attended the appointments together, which were arranged at a time and place convenient for them.
Both Ashley and Andrew say they found the appointments encouraging and supportive and looked forward to their weekly carbon monoxide readings - a simple breathing test to indicate how much carbon monoxide is in the body due to smoking.
They were also given advice on nicotine replacement therapy with Ashley opting for the patches and gum and Andrew using patches and an inhalator.
Since quitting, the couple estimate they have saved £400 a month and they have seen an improvement in their relationship as they have been able to use the money they have saved to go out and do things together.
Ashley added: “It’s not until I gave up smoking that I realised how much smoking affected my state of mind. I am now more confident in myself. If I can get through giving up smoking, I am confident there is so much more I can do.”
Ashley and Andy’s Stop Smoking Advisor Sue Margetts is delighted with their progress.
She said: “Ashley and Andrew have been very focused and done brilliantly giving up smoking - it has been a pleasure supporting them. I hope their story will inspire other people who are thinking about making a positive change to their lifestyle to get in touch with Wigan’s Stop Smoking Service.”
Contact Wigan Stop Smoking Service on 01942 482539 or visit www.bridgewater.nhs.uk/stopsmoking/