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Council service helps John kick habit after 60 years of smoking

An older couple sitting together on sofa
John and Fran Witherbed have both benefited from the QuitReady service

A Leicestershire resident has praised the QuitReady service after they helped her husband, who is living with dementia, to quit smoking.

John Witherbed, from Loughborough, started smoking in his teens, but years of smoking left him suffering with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). 

The 77-year-old was referred to QuitReady as his breathing was deteriorating and he was going to need oxygen at home. After previous attempts to quit had failed, this time John decided he had to quit for good.

After smoking for more than 60 years, John finally beat the habit with the support of a QuitReady stop smoking advisor.

His wife Fran, herself a lifelong non-smoker, said: “John had tried to quit in the past and hadn’t managed, but the support he received from QuitReady was brilliant.”

QuitReady offer a range of support, from online and telephone chats to home visits. As John’s dementia made it difficult for him to communicate over the phone, his advisor visited him at home.

“QuitReady offered us home visits, and they worked really well,” said Fran. “John’s advisor was so kind and understanding, she always took the time to make sure he understood everything.”

As well as the support John received from the service, Fran came up with a solution to help him break many of his smoking habits. She gave John a sticker for every day he didn’t smoke, so he could find it easier to visualise his achievements. The stickers are displayed on their kitchen wall and John enjoys counting them with his grandchildren.

Since quitting, John’s breathing has improved so much that he no longer needs 16 hour a day oxygen treatment at home, while quitting has left the couple better off financially.

Fran said: “We’re saving £40-£50 a week. This makes a big difference to us as we are both pensioners.”

Now Fran is encouraging others looking to kick the habit to get in touch with the QuitReady service. She said: “I would definitely recommend the service to others. It’s a miracle, I never thought John would quit. If they can do it for him, they can do it for anyone.”

Quitting smoking can be tough, especially for someone living with dementia. However, working with one of our dedicated QuitReady advisors will give you the best chance of success. No matter what is holding you back, our advisors can help you take the first steps towards a smoke free future.

You can contact QuitReady for stop smoking advice and support, including free stop smoking medication and E-Cigarette starter kits with follow on nicotine liquids, by calling 0345 646 66 66, texting 'ready' to 66777 or visiting:

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