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

Nazmiye Baris

Nazmiye Baris - proud to be a Hackney quitter
Nazmiye Baris

I couldn’t walk anywhere, I couldn’t do the housework and I was breathing like a 95 year old.

Nazmiye Baris
“I couldn’t walk anywhere, I couldn’t do the housework and I was breathing like a 95 year old. ”

This was 54 year old Hackney resident Nazmiye Baris’ life as a smoker. Nazmiye is now proud to be a quitter and has never looked back.

Nazmiye first started smoking as a teenager instanbul where she born and where she lived until her mid-twenties when she came to the UK.

“Everyone smoked, it was just what we did. It was my way of proving that I was a grown up”

She has tried to stop smoking before, but the stress and upset of a bereavement during her first attempt to quit led her to start again.

“I managed to give up but my mother passed away quite suddenly and I couldn’t find the money to go home. I was so sad.”

At the end of last year, Nazmiye was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is a collection of lung diseases that include chronic bronchitis and emphysema that make breathing very difficult. Approximately 25,000 people die each year from COPD in England. In Hackney, 46 deaths per year are caused by COPD linked directly to smoking.

“It helped that my advisor was Turkish, as I felt comfortable talking in my first language and she understood my background and my culture.”

After spending a week in hospital, she was told that, for her quality of life to improve she must stop smoking. She was referred to the local Stop Smoking Service and was given one to one weekly support from a Turkish speaking advisor at the Heron GP Practice in Stoke Newington.

Nazmiye’s advisor also gave her tips to combat cravings and they worked together to find the right medication to support this. “I used gum and patches and as my body was starting to get over the cravings, I gradually started using less and less.”

“Nazmiye hasn’t smoked a cigarette for nearly 3 months, and is already noticing significant benefits. I am breathing much more easily now and I am walking better than before. I also feel happier now and most importantly my son Hakkan is happy as he hated me smoking and asked me many times to give up.”

Nazmiye’s main motivation to remain a quitter has been Hakkan.

“He bought me a ring that I wear every day and he told me every time you think about having a cigarette, look at the ring and think of me. That has kept me strong.”

“When I was smoking I was spending £60 a week on tobacco. Now I can spend this money on the things that are important.”

Nazmiye’s relationship with Hakkan is very important to her, and now that she’s stopped smoking, she has discovered that she has a lot more spare cash to spend on treating him and doing things together.

Nazmiye’s experience has shown her how much of an impact smoking has on your life and on the people around you. She urges all smokers to consider quitting before it is too late. “Please, please don’t touch another cigarette. If you love your family and your children, you must try and stop,” she said emphatically.
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Kerri Layton

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Abir Mohamed

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Sarah Pluck

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Paula Shaw

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Joanna Thomas

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Brian Toomey

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Andreena Walton

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Markus Wilson

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Working on it!