Quitter Jackie Praises Service After Kicking 40-Year Habit


Jackie Illston had a 20-a-day habit, having smoked for around 40 years before turning to the Stop Smoking Service for help to get smokefree.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Jackie was advised by her doctor to quit – as she was not recovering well post-surgery. Although she was unconvinced that it would make a difference, Jackie promised to try and now hasn’t had a cigarette for four months.  Following quitting her recovery improved and her following operations went more successfully.

“It is hard to stop. I always said I’d never stop smoking for anyone. But I went to see Caz at the Stop Smoking Service and I had my last fag at 8pm that night after seeing her, and I haven’t smoked since,” said Jackie.

After deciding to take on the Not a Puff rule, choosing to set a stop date and to not take a single puff on a cigarette from that day forwards, Jackie’s willpower was her strongest ally to giving up. Her husband Mark was also extremely supportive, committing to give up smoking at the same time so that Jackie wouldn’t be facing the challenge of quitting on her own.

However, she also says Caz, the Stop Smoking Service advisor she was assigned, deserves a lot of the credit. When starting out on her journey to abstinence the information that she was provided with, which explained the damage smoking was capable of, persuaded her to stop.

“It was when she (Caz) told me what it does to your body. You don’t think about it until you hear all the information,” Jackie explained. “Caz was brilliant. I could ring up any time, night or day. She was so supportive.”

Now she’s quit Jackie is strongly anti-smoking, and can’t even stand being around other people whilst they smoke. Her family are also extremely against it, and her sister and daughter are both pleased that she has stopped.

“My sister and daughter are really against smoking, so they’re always praising me for stopping, which has helped me to quit.”

Jackie says she feels more energetic and as though she has more breath, and the help the Stop Smoking Service provided hasn’t just stopped with her. She’s been spreading the advice she’s been given and has even persuaded her neighbour to ditch cigarettes for an e-cig.

“I thought if I can do it anyone can. It’s awful – it’s just expensive and you can always tell when someone’s a smoker because they smell like an ashtray.”

When asked what advice she’d give to anyone who wants to quit, Jackie said: “Do it. I can’t even stand the smell of smoke now.

“I was scared before my first appointment but then I just walked into the place and it was really easy.”

If you want to stop smoking, and follow in Jackie’s footsteps, get in touch with the Leicester Stop Smoking Service and take advantage of its FREE 12-week service.

Call 0116 454 4000 to speak to a friendly advisor, who will be able to provide you with more information and get you on your way.