Smoke clears for Paul after health scare

A HATTERSLEY man has kicked the smoking habit after 55 years of lighting up following a serious health scare.

Paul Daley found himself with severe breathing difficulties and suspected chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).

A previous attempt to stop his 20 cigarettes a day habit did not succeed and he was back on eight roll-ups a day.

But the decision was made to quit after having to go to Tameside Hospital’s accident and emergency department in May.

Paul, 70, said: “I did manage to go four weeks without a cigarette however, during lockdown I started smoking again.”

Paul Daley

“I went to A&E as I could not breathe and thought that I was dying. I was frightened to death to lie down as it felt like I was drowning in this position.

“I had to sit up all the time even when I tried to sleep, it was a terrifying experience.

“I was aware that smoking was part of the problem and although I had tried to stop previously, my head was not in the right place. I’d been using three different inhalators each day to help me breath.

“While in hospital I was given Nicotine Replacement Patches (NRP) by the CURE (Tameside addiction service) nurse to help combat my nicotine cravings.

“After I came home from hospital, the CURE team nurse referred me to Be Well Tameside for further support.

“At this point my attitude was different – I knew if I continued to smoke I could die.”

After being referred, Paul chose to kick the habit using nicotine replacement treatment patches and Quick mist spray.

And a recent lung health check showed he does not have COPD, with a lot of the benefits being put down to his Be Well advisor, Margaret ‘Mags’ Fitzgerald.

Paul, who was so delighted with his progress, he wore a Batman costume, added: “It was the way I was asked that made a difference. Mags gave me time to think about why I wanted to stop but also why I smoked.

“I received fortnightly phone calls from her and looked forward to the catch ups.

“I did not feel rushed or pressured. I was frightened that I may have had cancer and knew that I needed to stop smoking.

“She did not dictate to me or make me feel guilty about smoking, as others have done in the past, she just listened and then said that the biggest strength comes from wanting to stop smoking.

“She was right, no matter who tells you that you should stop and why, if you are not ready, you won’t achieve it.

“I found her attitude and knowledge great – she explained things differently, in a way that I understood – no jargon! Her motivational skills were excellent and that’s what helped me stop.

“I don’t miss the cigarettes anymore; previously I’d liked to have a cigarette after food but now I’m OK. My food tastes better and my tongue is not brown anymore. Last but not least, I no longer get earache from the Mrs to stop smoking!”

Paul’s success was hailed as an example by Lobna Begum-Haris, specialist stop smoking lead with Be Well Tameside.

She said: “We hope Paul’s story inspires others who live or work in Tameside to contact us for support.”

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