Proud Hackney quitters

In life we’re told never to give up, to keep going – but when it comes to smoking, being a ‘quitter’ is a good thing. We’re using inspirational stories of ex-smokers in Hackney to highlight the life-changing benefits of quitting.

Meet our quitters

Hasan Bala

Proud to be a Hackney quitter - Hasan Bala
Hasan Bala

My advice to other smokers is first think of your health and then think of your finances.

Hasan Bala
Hasan started smoking at 15 out of curiosity more than anything else.

Originally from a town near Izmir in Turkey, he began smoking just one or two cigarettes a day but once he started his military service, it quickly turned into packet a day. He was then hooked.

When he was 25, he fell in love with Asli, a Hackney resident, who was on holiday in Turkey as her family is originally from there. Hasan decided to follow Asli back to the UK and find work so that he could be with her. Hasan and Asli eventually got married and now have two children, Ecrin, nine and Mira, three.

“I quit smoking for 9 months when Asli and I got engaged, but unfortunately it didn’t last.”

"I hassled him every day to stop smoking. I just hated the habit,” said Asli, his wife at their flat in Homerton. In the end, her encouragement and perseverance paid off.

Hasan’s own father, a heavy smoker himself, had died from lung cancer in 2015 but this didn’t provide the push he needed. It was when he got out of breath from climbing the stairs at his mother’s house that Hasan decided enough was enough.

Hasan then visited his GP who referred him to the Hackney Stop Smoking Service. The clinic he chose offered Saturday appointments which was just what Hasan needed as he works 6 days a week running the Copper Kettle, a café in Kidbrooke .

“The medication (Champix) I was given really helped, but it was my advisor who made the difference. She gave me breathing exercises to help with anger management, and other advice to help with cravings. I also kept myself busy and took up a new hobby.”

“My advice to other smokers is first think of your health and then think of your finances.”

Now that he’s quit smoking, Hasan can breathe better and spend more time with his children. “A lot of my customers can’t believe I’ve given up,” he said proudly.

“We’re so happy that he quit!” said Hasan’s eldest daughter Ecrin. “He can spend more time with us rather than spending all his time outside smoking. He also doesn’t smell anymore of smoke.”

Asli has already started putting aside the money that they’re saving for when the children go to university. She’s also interested in developing her skills of persuasion and becoming a specialist stop smoking advisor.
Ali Akpinar

Ali Akpinar

H.A Ali

H.A Ali

Ermira Alishani

Ermira Alishani

Nazmiye Baris

Nazmiye Baris

Hanim Boyraz

Hanim Boyraz

Alan Brooks

Alan Brooks

Paul Carlson

Paul Carlson

Ibrahim Corten

Ibrahim Corten

Lorraine Dunkley Clark

Lorraine Dunkley Clark

Kerri Layton

Kerri Layton

Abir Mohamed

Abir Mohamed

Simon O'Brien

Simon O'Brien

Thomas O'Reilly

Thomas O'Reilly

Sarah Pluck

Sarah Pluck

Paula Shaw

Paula Shaw

Joanna Thomas

Joanna Thomas

Brian Toomey

Brian Toomey

Andreena Walton

Andreena Walton

Markus Wilson

Markus Wilson

Working on it!