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Mark's motivation to quit

Mark, a 54-year old Caretaker from the New Forest, had a very special motivation to quit smoking - which led to him going successfully smoke-free in October 2017.
How Mark managed to stop smoking in the New Forest. Give up smoking and quit smoking for good with Quit4Life stop smoking service NHS

“I need your help” Mark asked Quit4Life, “my grandson is in hospital and I need to stop smoking right now.”

Mark is a proud grandad to seven grandchildren. Like many smokers, Mark thought he was doing all the right things: only ever smoking outside, never smoking near the children and trying to avoid any form of passive smoking.

“I thought I did everything I could. I never smoked in the house, I never smoked anywhere near the kids. I would wash my hands and my arms after smoking, and use mouthwash. But it wasn’t enough.” Mark’s doctor told him that tobacco smoke clings to everything: your clothes, your hair, even your skin. Unfortunately there is no safe level of smoking.

Mark’s grandson was suffering with respiratory problems, which weren’t caused by tobacco smoke, but even a small amount of second-hand smoke can prolong a recovery in vulnerable people.

Mark’s Quit4Life adviser told him that, unless you have a shower, wash your hair and your clothes after every cigarette, the people around you will still be exposed to some of the 4,000 chemicals found in cigarette smoke. Even if you smoke outside, it still clings to you.

“Although it wasn’t smoking that caused his illness, I knew it wasn’t helping. So I decided to give up smoking for good. It was hard, as I didn’t want him to see me until I had fully quit. I just didn’t want to do anything to make his breathing even worse.”

Mark used patches and gum to help him quit, alongside Quit4Life support. “I did find it quite hard – especially when I got home from work, or if we went out, when I’d usually have a cigarette. But the kids are my motivation. I had to remember that. It really helped when I spent time with them, as I wouldn’t ever smoke around them anyway, so I didn’t miss it. Rushing around with the grandkids is a great distraction when you’re wanting to smoke! And keeping a supply chewing gum with you when you get a craving for a cigarette really helped.”

When Mark stopped smoking, on 9th October 2017, he and his wife gave the house a full clean top to bottom to get rid of any possible smoke residue. “I only ever smoked outside, but I didn’t realise you could still smell it indoors a bit. We washed all my clothes, shampooed the carpets, washed the curtains and bedding and cleaned everywhere. It was a fresh start.”

Since stopping smoking Mark has been able to spend more time with his family. “I don’t have to worry about distancing myself or going outside for a cigarette. I’m not out of breath when I walk anymore. I’ve also got more money to spend on the house and holidays!

“If it wasn’t for Quit4Life, I’d still be smoking now. It worked for me. They are friendly and the support you get is very good.

“It was my choice to smoke, so I’d accepted the risks. But if it affects the grandchildren, that’s different. I didn’t think I’d be able to stop, but I did it for them. If you’ve got kids or grandkids, it’s worth doing.  I just felt so guilty. It’s a good thing at the end of the day.”

Congratulations to Mark, from all of us at Quit4Life!