An emergency hospital stay with severe breathing difficulties and the bombshell news that she had developed long-term COPD was the catalyst for Janet Abernethy quitting her 35-year smoking addiction.
The Cheadle resident, a volunteer at the Oxfam shop in Princess Street, Stockport, had started smoking at school and that developed into a 20 a day habit once she started work as a machinist.
She said: “When there was a break we would all bundle into the smoking room, grab a cup of coffee and light up. That’s what it was like back then.”
As the years wore on Janet, a mother of three and grandmother of five, would worry about the negative effects of smoking on her health. But the addiction was so strong she placed her fears aside.
Then in 2016 Janet, an asthmatic, found herself in hospital for nearly a week: “At first I thought it was just severe asthma but then they ran a load of tests and I was told it was COPD and it was down to my smoking. It was a terrible shock.”
A further hospital visit led to Janet being issued with an oxygen tank, and that was when she finally began to cut down her smoking. Her niece then spotted information on their local stop smoking service ABL Health online and Janet decided in October 2017 she was going to quit once and for all.
She said: “I thought “come on Janet, you’re killing yourself here”. I just had to do something about it. Picking up the phone to ABL was the best thing I could have done, the support I got from them, and continue to get, is incredible.
Janet admits quitting wasn’t easy, particularly with people around her still smoking. But with the use of lozenges and a nicotine spray, which she’d have a short blast of when the cravings came, she got through it.
Now she’s smoke free she can do so much more, and she’s also enjoying having more cash in her purse:
“I’m a lot, lot better now. I go to my COPD exercise class and I walk up the stairs to it. It’s a revelation being able to walk at breathe at the same time again!
“I also see one of my granddaughters every weekend and I can actually walk round to the shops with her. And I can afford to treat her too! Life is so much better now.”