“My partner was looking to quit smoking and when she was on the phone to the stop smoking service I butted in and asked for help too.”
Musician Michael Arnell, from County Durham is winning his 30-year battle to quit smoking. His addiction began with smoking cannabis in his early twenties and he’s struggled to quit ever since.
He said: “I was always a fervent anti-smoker but that changed when I was singing in a band in my early twenties and began smoking cannabis. This led to a life-long nicotine addiction where at my worst I was smoking up to 20 cigarettes a day.
“Being in a band means lots of late nights and mixing socially with other smokers. Although I tried to quit many times, I never managed for very long. Staying on track is hard when temptations are there.
The pandemic changed everything, it was finally time to quit for good.
Michael said: “I was watching nightly media reports on the number of deaths from Covid-19, I decided I really had to do something. My partner was looking to quit smoking and when she was on the phone to the stop smoking service I butted in and asked for help too.
“Initially I used Champix to help with my cravings and received weekly supportive phone calls from the service, which kept me on track. This time something in me clicked and there’s definitely no going back. I’m determined to learn from the pitfalls of the past and quit for good. The cravings now only last for a minute or two now and by distracting myself I can overcome them.
Now, a “joint effort” is ensuring Michael stays smoke-free and his singing has improved too.
Michael adds: “It feels really good. My health is improving every day since quitting and my improved lung capacity means I don’t cough when singing anymore.
“Anyone looking to quit should definitely do it. For me, it’s a joint effort between myself and the medication, and you do need willpower – but if I can do it anyone can.
“This has been a 30-year fight for me. So much of my time has been taken up with cigarettes – either looking to buy them or finding somewhere to smoke them. I’ve always felt beholden to my addiction and in a headlock with nicotine. Now I’m in control again and finally feel free!”