Marathon girl Zoe Robson goes smoke-free
Zoe Robson completed her first London Marathon in 2014 despite smoking 10 cigarettes a day.
Spurred on by her coach and a chance meeting with our stop smoking specialist Doris Gaga, who is in the same running club, Zoe was inspired to stop smoking.
Zoe says: "Doris would meet me in my lunch hour at her clinic in Tooley Street. We'd talk about how to deal with cravings and she warned me that certain times, like the third day and the third week, would be the most difficult after stopping smoking.
"The benefits of not smoking are endless. I have much more energy and can run faster for longer.
"Three months after I stopped smoking I ran the Florence Marathon in 3 hours 29 minutes and I’m on track to be even faster when I run in Boston. I’m really pleased with my efforts and it’s down to a fantastic support network – I couldn’t be happier.”
Catherine McCabe successfully stopped smoking
Catherine McCabe, 49, a receptionist at Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton, quit a 36-year smoking habit in October 2013 with the support of the stop smoking team.
Catherine, who lives in West Norwood, says: “I smoked 20 cigarettes a day. I started when I was 13. I suppose I was just following everyone else - it was the fashion back then.
It wasn’t until I ended up with a sore throat and my GP referred me to Guy’s Hospital with suspected throat cancer that I faced up to what smoking was doing to me. I saw people in the clinic with parts of their faces missing because of surgery to remove cancer.
“Thankfully the hospital doctor could only see a few small nodules at the back of my throat. I knew then that I had to stop and I’ve never looked back.
“Occasionally I still have cravings but with the help of nicotine patches that soon passes. I’d never done exercise before but now I do Zumba classes with my sister twice a week and I’m starting to feel fitter.
“I’m one of seven children and everyone in my family has smoked at some point except my youngest brother. My 74-year-old mum quit 10 years ago and she always said, ‘Cath, if I can do it you can too’. Now I know she was right.”
Doris Gaga from the stop smoking team and Janice Hosier long time smoker
Stop smoking specialist Doris Gaga and Janice Hosier
Janice Hosier, 65, from Bermondsey, started smoking at 15. She's tried to quit her 20-a-day smoking habit six times but without success. But now, with the help of Guy's and St Thomas' stop smoking specialist Doris Gaga, Janice says she has kicked the habit for good.
Janice, who receives stop smoking support at home, says: "When I got the news that I had multiple sclerosis I was devastated but after a few days I felt positive again and was back to my old self. Smoking is different. It’s just too powerful and it kept beating me.
"I'm alright to start off with but after a few months something happens, like my Dad getting pneumonia, and I'll start again.
"I look after my two grandsons and the one-year old is asthmatic. My mum smoked all her life and had an awful death with machines at home to help her breathe. How can I smoke around him knowing that?
"With the help of Doris I know this time it's for good. The wheezing has stopped completely, I feel more alert, and people say I look better."
Colin Bone and Sandra O'Sullivan
Colin Bone and his partner Sandra O'Sullivan
Colin Bone, 54, and his partner Sandra O'Sullivan, 53, gave up smoking together in October 2013.
Colin, from Bermondsey, had smoked for 43 years. He was spurred on to quit smoking after being diagnosed with breathing problems. His partner, Sandra, who smoked for 42 years, has also kicked a 25-cigarette-a-day habit.
Sandra, who comes to the stop smoking clinic for support every Friday with Colin, says: "I was shocked to find out that I had the lung capacity of a 90-year-old. That was it. I knew I had to do something.
"Following simple suggestions, like waiting four minutes to let the cravings subside, has made a real difference to my life.
"My daughter lives across the street in a block of flats without a lift. Now I can go up four flights of stairs and pop around to see my grandchildren without getting out of breath."
Stop smoking specialist Nirmala Madadi says: "Colin and Sandra are perfect examples that it is never too late to give up smoking.
"With the support of our stop smoking service, patients and staff can change their lives for good. There is no better time to stop smoking than today."