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Mike Warren in his garden

50 year smoker helped to quit after accessing free local support

A smoker of 50 years has finally quit for a healthier lifestyle and praised the help he received after seeking free local support that’s available across Bath and North East Somerset.

Mike Warren (pictured), from Twerton, has been accessing the county’s Stop Smoking Support Service, run by Virgin Care as part of Bath and North East Somerset’s Community Health and Care Services, to seek both face-to-face and telephone consultations to help him stop smoking.

“I was walking down Twerton high street and I saw the sign for help with stopping smoking,” Mike said. “It was at that point I felt I needed a bit of back up and I saw Jo Spinney (Health Improvement Practitioner, at Virgin Care) and she gave me a prescription for nicotine replacement. Since then, I’ve seen Jo every two weeks and here I am three years later smoke free.

“There are times when you feel like a cigarette but it’s a matter of moments and the feeling does go. When you have bad moments she advises you what to do, like pick up a piece of fruit and have a drink of water.”

Mike says he feels a lot better about his lifestyle choices and feels happier and healthier having gained the support he needed to stop smoking.

“Three years ago when I was smoking I was struggling, coughing and short of breath. By quitting I’ve managed to carry on,” he said. “I play cricket and also do walking football at Odd Down Sports centre. I feel happier. I’m active. If I hadn’t quit smoking I wouldn’t be able to do those things.”

“I don’t think I could have done this without the help from Jo and her colleagues. They don’t put you down because you smoke. They want you to quit as much as you do. They give you encouragement and advice. It’s a darn good service,” added Mike.

Virgin Care’s Stop Smoking Support Service is available for people who live or work in Bath and North East Somerset. The team help people, like Mike, to either stop smoking completely or cut down the number of cigarettes smoked to reduce the harm from smoking.

The team can also offer advice and support to help people switch to electronic cigarettes (vaping) and stop smoking medication. The service runs a number of drop-in sessions in various community venues throughout Bath and North East Somerset.

All through October, the team are running a number of programmes and awareness events to help people throughout Stoptober – the 28-day national stop smoking challenge . Stopping smoking for 28 days means people are five times more likely to stay smoke free for good.

People can contact Virgin Care’s Healthy Lifestyle Service on 01225 831852 or email the team to seek support today.

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