Ken is out to inspire quitters

Ken Friel with his granddaughter Faye.

Ken Friel with his granddaughter Faye.

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A GRANDAD who quit smoking after suffering a heart attack on Christmas Eve is to feature on campaign posters across Lancashire.

Ken Friel, 51, from Cleveleys, wanted to stub out cigarettes for good to give him chance to see his grandchildren grow up.

And he said he felt “enough was enough” after he suffered a heart attack in 2011 and spent Christmas in hospital.

He has shared his story as part of a new campaign by Tobacco Free Futures, which shows real-life examples of local people who have quit the habit with the help of NHS Stop Smoking Services.

The adverts are being played on the radio and posters and leaflets are being displayed in public places.

Grandfather-of-two Mr Friel used to smoke between 30 and 35 cigarettes a day and had done for about 30 years.

He told The Gazette: “I had to quit after I had my heart attack. It was such a shock for me and my family, it really was a wake-up call.

“I went to see my local Stop Smoking Service in Blackpool and they helped me to quit. I’m so grateful, I feel like I’ve been given a second chance to see my grandkids grow up.

“I’d tried to stop before and never succeeded, so it was the help which made the difference.

“I feel so much better, I have more energy, more money and feel healthier. And I can be there for my two grandchildren – I already had one grandchild and another one on the way when I had the heart attack.

“If me being on the posters helps encourage other people to stop smoking, that’s great.

“I’d encourage anyone who wants to quit to get help from the stop smoking service.”

Andrea Crossfield, director of Tobacco Free Futures, said support was essential when packing in.

She added: “Many people want to quit, but are put off for various reasons, such as lack of support, failing to quit in the past, or just because they feel too stressed to try to quit.

“The Stop Smoking Services offer a brilliant support network.”

Carol Bramhall, of Blackpool NHS Stop Smoking Service, added: “We want to make smokers in Blackpool aware their local Stop Smoking Service is here to help and support them every step of the way.

“We have a great track record here as we help thousands of smokers quit for good every year and our service is completely free to everyone.”

For information, visit www.letsquitlancashire.co.uk or text Quit to 60070.

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