Sunderland ex-smoker urges others to quit for Stoptober

L-R: Coun John Kelly, Marciel Puse, Sharon Stothard, Karen Wilson, Catherine Taylor and Gillian Gibson.
L-R: Coun John Kelly, Marciel Puse, Sharon Stothard, Karen Wilson, Catherine Taylor and Gillian Gibson.

A Sunderland mum is urging others to ditch the cigarettes.

Karen Wilson, who began smoking at just 12-years-old, has managed to give up the habit with the help of her family and wants others to join her for Stoptober.

It certainly wasn’t easy to stop smoking after so many years, but I’m so glad I have.

Karen Wilson

Thousands of smokers in Sunderland are being encouraged to take part in Stoptober as new data shows quitting success rates are at their highest for at least a decade.

Now in its sixth year, Stoptober has inspired over one and a half million quit attempts since 2012 with nearly 50,000 sign ups so far in the North East.

The campaign is based on research that if you stop smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stop for good.

Karen, a mum-of-three, decided to give up smoking when her 14-year-old daughter Leanne started to plead with her to stop and she realised the effect it was having on the family.

Karen - who is also mum to eight-year-old Charlie and Alex, five - said: “I was smoking around 20-a-day and Leanne hated it. She was really worried about me and was always asking me to stop.

“The problem was that I’d tried to give it up three or four times before, but each time I did, something would trigger me to have just one more. I’d go through another box of

them and after that I’d start smoking all over again. It was a vicious circle.”

But, with the support of her family, the 33-year-old recently gave up smoking.

She said: “It certainly wasn’t easy to stop smoking after so many years, but I’m so glad I have. If anyone is thinking about stopping smoking for Stoptober, I’d say give it a go – what have you got to lose?

“My family is now over the moon that I’ve quit and that is my inspiration to continue. I feel like I’d let myself down if I reached for the cigarettes now.”

Coun John Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture at Sunderland City Council said: “Eight out of ten people in Sunderland don’t smoke and we want to encourage even more people to give up.

“The Stoptober campaign provides a real focus for people to start on that journey and with all of the help and support that’s available there’s never been a better time to quit.

“Studies show that you’re up to four times more likely to quit successfully if you have specialist help and support and in Sunderland the Live Life Well Service is available.”

For support visit www.livelifewell.org.uk or call 0800 107 0741.