Sheffield marks No Smoking Day - put a stop to an expensive habit

James Firth from Stannington who has successfully quit smoking for 4 years
James Firth from Stannington who has successfully quit smoking for 4 years

DITCH the cigarettes - and save yourself a packet!

That’s the message thousands of smokers across Sheffield are being urged to follow today as the city marks No Smoking Day.

The annual awareness campaign encourages people to quit cigarettes and tobacco for good - and the theme of this year’s event highlights the benefits smokers can gain by giving up, from extra cash to improved health.

James Butler, from Stannington, said he has recouped £600 a month just by kicking his nicotine addiction, and he’d ‘recommend quitting to anyone’.

“It’s just been win-win for me,” said James, aged 42.

“I don’t have a cough any more, my hayfever’s stopped, I’ve been able to move into a bigger house and buy a better car. No-one, especially me, ever thought I would stop, but I have - and as a bonus I have inspired many of my friends to quit too.”

He said he first picked up cigarettes in his late teens, enjoying the ‘social aspect’ of smoking.

“I never put any thought into it, it just seemed to be the ‘in thing’. Back then everybody seemed to smoke,” said James, who works in the payroll department at Royal Mail.

“Like everybody else I got addicted. The effect was terrible. I was breathless, I couldn’t taste anything and I had a limited sense of smell. Cigarettes were one of my main expenditures. I realised it really wasn’t good for me.”

James gave up four years ago with help from the Firth Park Stop Smoking Group, run by NHS Sheffield. He was given tablets called Champix which reduced his craving for cigarettes.

“It changed my whole mindset. I couldn’t believe I’d stopped after all those years,” he added.

A balloon release is happening at 2pm today at the ShipShape Health Centre in Sharrow to mark No Smoking Day, and staff at the GP Walk-In Centre on Broad Lane will be giving advice.

* Think positive - tell yourself you really will quit smoking.

* Make a plan by setting a date for quitting and stick to it.

* Quit with friends or family, or get support from the NHS.

* Identify when cravings hit, then make a list of strategies to avoid smoking.

* Get moving - exercise can cut cravings.