Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Was Told 'Stop Smoking or Risk Losing Your Leg' Now James Is Feeling Great and Hoping to Inspire Others

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Was Told 'Stop Smoking or Risk Losing Your Leg' Now James Is Feeling Great and Hoping to Inspire Others

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVE ROBSON dave.robson@trinitymirror.com @Daverobson_gaz

WHEN James Degnen had major surgery for blocked veins, he faced a stark choice - quit smoking or risk losing a leg.

And when dad-of-two Craig Hannan posted on Facebook about quitting, he was inundated with messages of support on Facebook.

Both men have now kicked the smoking habit.

And today, they are offering their support to Stoptober - the annual campaign to get people across the country to stop smoking for a month.

The campaign was launched this week with new data showing quitting success rates at their highest for years.

A University College of London report shows that quitting rates were up to 19.8% for the first six months of the year - significantly higher than the average for the last 10 years (15.7%).

Since 2012, Stoptober has inspired more than 1.5m attempts to quit since 2012 - including nearly 50,000 sign-ups in the North-east.

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

James, 67, of Eston, had smoked on and off since he was 15 - only for health problems last year to prove the final straw.

He said: "I was having trouble with blocked vascular veins in my legs and had faced a number of health conditions over the years. In 2009, I even had to undergo a valve replacement in my heart and I was advised to quit smoking at the time, but I just couldn't motivate myself to quit.

"With my latest surgery scheduled for the beginning of 2017, my surgeon warned me that it was either pack in smoking or risk losing my leg. In the build up to that point, I was feeling so bad, I could barely walk 50 metres with the dog without having to stop and rest.

"The surgery was the real turning point for me and I quit smoking in December 2016 in preparation for it."

Since quitting with his wife of nearly 50 years, Rita, James says he's "feeling fantastic." He added: ""Having major surgery was a real wake up call to me. If anyone is thinking about stopping smoking for Stoptober, I'd say just do it. …

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