Graham Jones, from Gateshead had smoked for over 45 years when he quit. Whenever cravings got too bad, he would jump on his bike. He’s now smoke-free and so much happier and healthier.
He recalls: “I had a coughing fit in front of a friend, and I remember him saying I looked like I was going to pass out. My face was bright red, I was coughing and spluttering, and I struggled to recover and catch my breath afterwards.
“I thought – why am I spending my hard-earned money on something that kills me? I should give quitting a go.
“I didn’t think I’d be successful at first. I started off trying a couple of different stop-smoking medications, but they just weren’t for me.
“So, I decided to buy a mountain bike. I was two weeks into quitting and was feeling pretty grumpy and irritable. Instead of sitting and stewing on the fact that I wasn’t smoking, I’d go out for a ride instead. That was the real turning point.”
Now Graham’s smoke-free, it’s not just his breath he’s got back.
He adds: “The first few times on the bike my breathing was horrendous, but it was getting better and I could feel in my lungs that my fitness was improving week on week. I was breathing easier, getting better breaths of air in, coughing spells were getting shorter and shorter.
“My sense of taste and smell definitely improved, and so did my bank balance! All the money that I would’ve spent on smoking is still there. And looking back it was a lot. I’d go through a pack a day at the minimum, spending around £50 a week. That’s £3,000 a year!
Graham’s advice for smokers is clear:
“If you’re thinking of stopping smoking, there are plenty of Nicotine Replacement Therapy and other products out there to try, and plenty of support and help available at local stop smoking services.
“I’m smoke-free now, and every day I can feel the benefits to my health.”