Posted on Monday 6 March 2017
Rosemary McLynn (left) and Toyin Sarayi
Rosemary McLynn is one of 300 people helped to quit smoking last year thanks to the support of Guy’s and St Thomas’ stop smoking specialists.
They are reminding smokers in the run-up to No Smoking Day (Wednesday 8 March) that they are four times more likely to quit the habit for good if they do so with NHS support.
Rosemary, 47, from Elephant and Castle, was admitted to the Emergency Department (A&E) at St Thomas’ in October 2016 with severe breathing problems after years of smoking 60 cigarettes a day.
Rosemary who started smoking when she was just 14, says: “I had a cold virus but literally couldn’t breathe. I came to hospital and thought, ‘I’ll be home in three or four days’, but I was still in 10 days later. I just couldn’t fight it off.
“The doctor said to me: ‘You won’t last very long if you carry on smoking like this. I give you 10 years.’ That was my wake-up call and I haven’t put another cigarette in my mouth since.”
Since being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in 1998, Rosemary has experienced other serious health problems including a heart attack, osteoporosis (fragile bones that break easily), and numerous visits to A&E. She also has Type 1 diabetes.
Rosemary has quit smoking with the help of Toyin Sarayi, a stop smoking specialist at Guy’s and St Thomas’. She was offered various treatment options including Nicotine Replacement Therapy. She chose to quit smoking using a range of products including patches and oral strips.
She says: “There were times when I’d climb the walls as I really wanted a cigarette. But I’d come to Toyin’s stop smoking clinic every week and with her support I know I’m not giving in. You can have a coffee and a cigarette but when it’s finished the health problems are still there. It’s about changing your mindset.
“I’m breathing much better now and I don’t need to use my nebuliser as much. I can’t reverse the damage but I’m not prepared to smoke anymore.”
A nebuliser is a device that enables you to breathe in medicine as a mist through a mask or mouthpiece.
Guy's and St Thomas' stop smoking support service offers free intensive treatment and support in a range of locations, including in hospital and at home.
Toyin Sarayi says: “My job is to encourage people to quit smoking while they are in hospital and support them to stay smoke-free once they get home. We know smokers face many challenges but they are four times more likely to quit with NHS support.
“So we explore issues like managing stressful situations at work and home. I say to patients: ‘The craving doesn’t last long, so hang in there and don’t give in to smoking.’”
Smoking is not permitted anywhere on Guy's and St Thomas' property, including outside areas.