Proud to be quitters in the Western Isles

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Western Isles former smokers who are ‘proud to be quitters’ are encouraging smokers across the Western Isles to find their inspiration too, and kick the habit.

Angus Campbell from North Street and Murdo Fraser from Aignish both quit smoking with the help and support of Smokefree Hebrides. They are now both supporting NHS Western Isles to encourage smokers to give quitting a go.

Yesterday (Wednesday) marked the 32nd No Smoking Day. Each year, hundreds of thousands of smokers choose this as the day they start to stop, proudly turning their backs on a life with cigarettes.

Back when No Smoking Day was launched in 1983, there were twice as many smokers in the UK as there are today, so something’s going right. But there’s still some way to go before we are free from smoking completely.

This year’s No Smoking Day theme is ‘Proud to be a Quitter. In life we’re told never to give up, to keep going – but when it comes to smoking, being a ‘Quitter’ is a good thing. Smokefree Hebrides is using inspirational stories of ex-smokers to highlight the life-changing benefits of quitting.

Angus Campbell initially started smoking at the age of 18 and smoked for 45 years, latterly smoking two ounces of tobacco a week. With the support of Smokefree Hebrides, he managed to kick the habit. He has now been smoke-free since last May.

Angus enjoys going fishing with his friends, and when one of his fishing companions got ill, Angus decided to support him to quit, by quitting himself.

Angus is now an advocate for Smokefree Hebrides and would urge anyone to visit the team to get support to quit. He firmly believes, if he can do it, so can you.

Murdo Fraser, meanwhile, was inspired by Angus to quit. And when he became a grandfather, he firmly made his mind up to get support from Smokefree Hebrides to change his life for the better. He had smoked for 41 years, and smoked in excess of 1/2 an ounce of tobacco per day (approximate equivalent of about 25 cigarettes per day).

Murdo said: “What better inspiration to ‘quit’ than the arrival of my new grandson, Magnus. I’d smoked for 41 years, but I want to be around for a long time as part of Magnus’ future. I’m already much happier and healthier. Find your inspiration and you too can kick the habit.”

Murdo is now much fitter and healthier. Before quitting, he could swim two lengths at a time – he can swim 20 lengths!

Murdo would also urge smokers in the Western Isles to contact Smokefree Hebrides to give quitting a go.

Joanne O’Donnell, NHS Western Isles Smoking Cessation Coordinator, said: “We understand that the majority of smokers want to stop smoking, but many find the task too daunting. No Smoking Day is the perfect opportunity to inspire smokers in the Western Isles to quit for good.

“With support, smokers are more likely to succeed in their quit attempt. That is why Smokefree Hebrides has been out in force on No Smoking Day, educating smokers on the range of local services and resources available to them.”

There are also displays in the Health Board Offices in Stornoway (organised by Moira Macaulay) and in local chemists, KJ Macdonald and Boots. Posters are on display in a number of GP Practices.

A ‘Toddle Waddle’ is also being held to mark to Smoking Day. Organised in partnership with Point Parent and Toddler Group, and supported by Paths for Health, the Toddle Waddle will take place on Friday, March 13, leaving Bayble Beach Car Park at 1pm. Funds on the day will be raised for the British Heart Foundation, and tea and cakes will be available after the walk. Everyone welcome to join in!

Keep an eye out for No Smoking Day posters, check out the website https://nosmokingday.org.uk or simply give Smokefree Hebrides a call on 01851 701623 or e-mail: smokefreehebrides@nhs.net.