'Giving Up Smoking Is Best Gift You Can Give Yourself'

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 14, 2015 | Go to article overview

'Giving Up Smoking Is Best Gift You Can Give Yourself'


Byline: Mark Smith Health Correspondent mark.smith@walesonline.co.uk

ABAR manager who kicked his 20-a-day smoking habit last Christmas Day is looking forward to his first smoke-free festive period in more than six years.

The deputy manager of Bierkeller in Cardiff, Luke Richardson, is now urging others to follow suit and prepare for their New Year quit attempts by "warming up" and booking in free support with Stop Smoking Wales before the January rush.

Having started smoking at the age of 18, Luke, 25, spent six years as a regular smoker.

Despite starting on just a few cigarettes a day, working in the bar industry saw Luke's social smoking habit quickly evolve into an addiction of at least 20 cigarettes a day until he finally decided to quit.

Like many hardened smokers, Luke had wanted to quit for years, but always found a reason not to, convincing himself that it was never the right time.

He finally took the plunge last year when he was due to spend Christmas in Port Talbot with his girlfriend Hannah's family, who didn't smoke, and he hasn't looked back since.

"Instead of looking forward to spending time with my girlfriend's family over Christmas, I was worrying about when and where I would be able to have my next cigarette," he said.

"I hated how much my smoking controlled me and had enough of being a slave to something that was so bad for my health.

"As a diabetic, the future can be a real worry for me, and I wanted to make sure that I was doing everything I could to build towards a happy and healthy future "As well as the obvious health benefits, I also hated the smell. As a smoker you can shower, brush your teeth and be completely fresh and clean only to have that ruined a moment later by smoking.

"I knew that something needed to change so, last Christmas, I decided to give myself and my family the best present I could - the gift of health. I gave up smoking ready for 2015.

"Doing so is the greatest present you can give yourself and those whom you love and love you. By giving up one thing, you will gain so, so much."

Luke achieved his goal of becoming smoke-free with the help of his loved ones and stresses the importance of having support during the process.

Speaking of his journey, he said: "Giving up smoking is such a simple yet difficult thing to do alone. …

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