A COUPLE has quit smoking thanks to the support of hospital staff.

Paul and Karen Whitney from Winsford had been smoking for more than 45 years between them, smoking about eight cigarettes every day and spending more than £400 each month on their addiction.

This eventually culminated in Paul, 50, suffering a heart attack which he took as a “sign he needed to stop.”

While on the ward at Leighton Hospital, he met specialist nurse Jo Harding from the CURE programme, who helped him and Karen to quit.

He said: “It was hard to give up. I found it really tough and without the help from the hospital team, I wouldn’t have done it.

“They helped me a lot with things to try to take my mind off it, supported us with the patches and everything else we needed.

“We had talked about quitting, but you don’t do it. I wish I had done it sooner.

“If Jo hadn’t come in and spoken to me I don’t think we would have been able to totally quit.”

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Northwich Guardian: Leighton HospitalLeighton Hospital (Image: MCHT)

Paul had been smoking for 15 years while Karen, 46, had been living with tobacco dependence for 30 years.

Each week they spent around £105 on cigarettes.

“Just think of the money that you’re saving by not smoking – it’s unbelievable,” Paul added.

“It’s crazy how much they cost. When you think how much you’re saving, it’s a lot of money over the years.”

Following the heart attack, Paul underwent surgery at the Royal Stoke University Hospital and had two stents fitted.

He and Karen followed the support of the CURE programme, launched by Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 2020.

Currently supporting more than 50 smokers, the programme provides tailored nicotine replacement therapy and support from specialist nurses, such as Jo.

Since quitting, Paul has noticed changes in his taste buds and says he has been “feeling better in himself”.

Dr Duncan Fullerton, respiratory consultant and clinical lead for the CURE programme, said: “Smoking has a huge impact on a person’s health. It’s still the single largest preventable cause of death in this country and almost every minute of every day someone is admitted to a hospital in England with a smoking-related disease.

“Tobacco addiction is a chronic and relapsing disease and the CURE programme is about hospital teams working together to tackle this. I’m delighted that our amazing staff were able to make such a difference to Paul and Karen’s lives. Quitting is quite simply the best thing any smoker can do for their health and it’s never too late to stop.”