As the leader of a large authority with some pretty shocking statistics of tobacco related diseases, I’m no stranger to the dangers of smoking.
I’m also no stranger to a packet of fags either having carried one around in my pocket, smoking the contents at a rate of around 20 a day, for most of my adult life.
But with the town’s public health team now a vital part of Blackpool Council (and breathing down my neck to set an example) I’ve been toying with the idea of quitting for a while.
It’s getting very awkward – take last month.
The public health team won an award for the work they’ve done on tackling smoking rates in Blackpool.
Great news I thought and, keen to support the staff for their hard work, I said I would go along to the ceremony to watch them collect the award.
But my addiction got the better for me and, whilst no one was looking (or so I thought), I nipped outside for “crafty” cigarette.
I was rumbled almost immediately, of course, and the irony was not lost on me.
Reprimanded by the team I was told I was taking part in Stoptober, the national 28-day stop smoking challenge.
I agreed to try – I want to quit smoking for good, I’ve just not managed to do it yet.
I know the damage it does to my health, I’m more than aware that many of the town’s health problems that stem from smoking, and most importantly, I’ve got three children and don’t want to be a bad example to them.
Having attempted to kick the habit several times before, I’ve tried everything from patches and gums to nasal sprays; you name it and I’ve probably given it a go.
This time I’ve opted to go cold turkey and simply cut it out, with any luck for good.
I have no doubt that it will be difficult but this time I want to succeed.
I’ll keep you updated on my progress and share any tips or snippets of advice that work for me.
If you’re reading this thinking it all sounds a bit similar and that you too have been thinking about quitting, now is the time to do it.
And even if you haven’t, I urge the smokers out there to give Stoptober a go.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve missed the beginning of the month, don’t use that as an excuse – you can start anytime.
There is so much support and advice available from the Blackpool Stop Smoking Service, give them a call on 01253 651570 or email them at to see how they can help you quit smoking for good.
To find out more about Stoptober, and to access the support available, visit: https://stoptober.smokefree.nhs.uk/