November 20 2019 marks World COPD Day, and ex-smoker and COPD sufferer, Geoff Bunting, 61 from Norwood, is calling for all Sheffield smokers to take the first step to quitting with the help of Smokefree Sheffield.

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a progressive lung condition with no cure, which affects around 1.2 million people in the UK with millions of people going undiagnosed.

COPD affects the lungs and airways, making it difficult to empty air out of the lungs because the airways have been narrowed. Making day-to-day tasks more difficult, symptoms often include shortness of breath when doing tasks such as going for a walk or housework, as well as long-lasting heavy coughs. One of the best ways to manage COPD as a smoker is to quit.

Geoff had smoked since he was eight years old. At one point he smoked over 60 cigarettes a day. Following his COPD diagnosis he began to feel the affects of being unable to do the things he loved, like playing in his band and walking his dog.

Following a particular period of chest pains, Geoff visited his GP. It was at this moment, when Geoff was told that if he didn’t quit smoking then he was unlikely to live to see the end of five years, that he finally made the decision to quit smoking.

“It was that point I thought this is real, I might not be here. And that’s when I thought, that’s it, I’m going to give up,” said Geoff.

Contacting Smokefree Sheffield partner Yorkshire Smokefree in the Moor Market, Geoff and the team developed a quit plan that worked for him, including the use of nicotine replacement therapy, Champix.

“I talked to the amazing people who work there and they put me on this journey to becoming smokefree. Whenever I was getting cravings, I would phone them and they would help talk me through them. They’re always there to help. It’s wonderful.”

“Since quitting I’ve got over 50% of my lung capacity back and I haven’t had a chest complaint in over 20 months! I’m getting more and more of me back from quitting.”

Geoff

Working together as a partnership with Yorkshire Smokefree and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Smokefree Sheffield are developing a new campaign to help people living with COPD to get the support they need to make their first steps in quitting. This will educate on the help they can receive at home as well as in the community.

Greg Fell, Director of Public Health at Sheffield City Council, said “It’s fantastic to see how the support of our services are helping the people of Sheffield to gain control over their lives and reap the benefits of quitting. Our collective partnership work and services are designed to help the people who need it most and Geoff is a great example of how the right support can make all the difference to someone’s life.”

Yorkshire Smokefree offers free and flexible support for those suffering with COPD who are ready to take their first steps to quitting.

“Nearly 90% of COPD related deaths are linked to smoking and the single best thing they can do for their health is to quit. The focus for the latest campaign from Smokefree Sheffield is encouraging and supporting those with COPD to start their Smokefree journey, with the support of the services to help them quit for good and make major improvements to their quality of life,” said Greg Fell.

Geoff, who has helped encourage six of his friends and family to quit too, has this advice for people who are still smoking, “Don’t wait until it’s too late and if you fail the first time, that’s ok. The service is here to help you and you can just try again.”

Smokefree Sheffield brings the city’s tobacco control board partners and local services together under one umbrella and has been set up to help smokers, non-smokers, quitters and the whole community work towards a future without tobacco.

To find out more about Smokefree Sheffield, including advice and support to quit visit www.smokefreesheffield.org