Rugby playing Gabriella Alves is urging people across Bath and North East Somerset to quit smoking for Stoptober as doing so has improved her health and her performance on the pitch.
The sports-loving 21-year-old spoke out as new figures show nearly nine out of ten of those that use our stop smoking Wellbeing Service are successful.
Student Gabriella took up the habit at the age of 15 to ‘fit in’ with friends after going to her first music concert.
And she continued from then on, meaning that with each passing year she found it harder to give up.
But the current coronavirus pandemic made her determined to call it a day, so she sought help.
Now Gabriella is smoke free, meaning she is saving £26 a week and is a lot healthier.
Gabriella, who studies Social Work and Applied Social Studies at Bath University said: “Thanks to Virgin Care’s Wellbeing Service, I have managed to quit and I have noticed that my general cardiovascular fitness is much better.
“I don’t tire as quickly at all. I’ve also noticed that my circulation is better. I can really feel the benefits of being healthier, and I can play my sport more efficiently.”
Prior to quitting, Gabriella became concerned when she noticed her fitness level was reducing, she was regularly out of breath and coughing in the mornings.
Previously, she had attempted to quit smoking on her own by vaping (using an electronic cigarette) but only ever managed a few days before falling back into old habits.
After discovering help was available from our Wellbeing Service, which offers free stop smoking support, Gabriella got in touch.
And she was provided with a vape starter kit, behavioural support, access to an approved Smokefree app and regular telephone support – all for no charge.
Gabriella said, “It was really easy to make contact and I received a quick response which was really lovely and helpful.”
She admits that, “It was quite hard at the start due to the cravings and it was really hard to adjust to using the vape rather than smoking and I found I had to use it more. However, after about the first ten days I started to feel better and it began to get easier. Now the smell of smoking really puts me off!”
The vape kits we supply include everything you need to kick start your quit attempt; a vape device, supply of e-liquids in a choice of flavours and strengths, replacement atomiser heads and a wall mounted charging kit as well as a user guide to switching from cigarettes to vapes.
Gabriella added, “The team at Virgin Care really took the time to check in with me and monitor my progress. They were able to send me different e-liquids to try, which kept me motivated on my journey to quit.”
Our latest available figures show that from April 2019 to March 2020, 150 people set a quit date with Virgin Care’s Wellbeing Service. Of those, 133 successfully quit, making an 89% quit rate.
Julie Harrington, Specialist Stop Smoking Service Lead at Virgin Care, said, “Our Wellbeing Service offers free support to any smoker in Bath and North East Somerset to quit smoking. There’s lots of support available with telephone or face time support alongside stop smoking medications, (champix tablets, nicotine replacement) as well as Vape starter kits to help you reach your goal.
“There are many benefits to quitting smoking to both your physical and mental health and to your finances. Therefore this year our local Stoptober campaign is encouraging smokers to “free yourself from cigarettes– Free your body, Free your Mind, Free your finances and become free forever – make the break from cigarettes and quit!”
There has never been a better time to quit smoking – it is the single most important step you can take to improve your health. If you can quit for 28 days you are five times more likely to quit for good. The Virgin Care Wellbeing Service can be contacted on 0300 247 0050 to sign up.
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