We spoke to David recently who was keen to share his experience of being invited to the Targeted Lung Health Check programme which led to him successfully quitting cigarettes with the help of the local smoking cessation team.
David is 65 years ‘young’ and leads an active life regularly cycling with his friends and walking his two dogs.
In August 2022 David received a letter inviting him in for a targeted lung health check. “I was a bit apprehensive at first having been a smoker for a long time but I thought well I’m getting a bit older so I really need to be a man and suck it up”.
David went onto say “For me smoking and the smell of cigarettes brought back fond memories of my mum who worked in London for Sobranie. At the time the company was marketed as luxury in the tobacco industry. Growing up in those days smoking was considered quite glamorous and was often portrayed by movie stars in the old black and white movies. People were blissfully unaware of the health implications. Our family GP even smoked back then!”
David considers himself in pretty good shape and smoking never stopped him from keeping active, and he had no shortness of breath or smokers cough which are often associated with long term cigarette use. However, as David explained: “I suffered a minor stroke in my 50’s which prompted me to stop smoking for a while but nine months later I was back on the cigarettes. I carried on smoking even though my subconscious would be telling me to stop. I had my first son at 21 and the health visitor turned to me and said: “If you want to see your son turn 21 you need to stop smoking!”
Fast forward to 2022 following an initial assessment of David’s lung health he was invited to the mobile scanning unit for a further CT scan. As David recalls “To my relief the scan came back clear and no further follow up appointments were required”.
As a current smoker David was asked if he would like to speak to the local smoking cessation team for support to kick the habit. David agreed and Jenny, from the smoking cessation team, called a couple of days later.
David recalls “I’d known for a long time that smoking was bad for me I just didn’t have the willpower to give up. Jenny was brilliant! She enrolled me onto the smoking cessation programme and introduced me to one of the commissioned stop smoking vape shops where I received a vape starter kit and patches as part of the 12 week programme.
I was still smoking and on my way to my first appointment I sat down the seafront and smoked my last three cigarettes. During the 12 week programme I was required to blow into a carbon monoxide breath monitor. This basically showed the amount of carbon monoxide in your body. My first reading was 38 parts per million (ppm) which I now know is way above what it should be. A normal reading would be between 1-4ppm.”
When asked how difficult it was to stop smoking David acknowledged “I do miss sitting in the garden, first thing in the morning, with a cup of coffee and a cigarette but I can’t believe how easy it was to stop particularly with the support and encouragement I received from the smoking cessation team”.
Finally David concluded “I would urge anyone aged between 55-75 whether ex or current smoker to contact the TLHC check team to see if they are eligible for a lung health check. Luckily I didn’t need any further treatment but because of the programme I can at last say I’m smoke free and feel much better for it”.