QUIT IT: Community pharmacist Johanna Bou-Samra helps Vernon Welfare track his recovery. Mr Welfare is eight months without a cigarette thanks to Quitline and a program at Toowoomba Hospital.
QUIT IT: Community pharmacist Johanna Bou-Samra helps Vernon Welfare track his recovery. Mr Welfare is eight months without a cigarette thanks to Quitline and a program at Toowoomba Hospital. Bev Lacey

Toowoomba smoker snubs out cigarettes after 40 years

A FORMER smoker, Vernon Welfare said the best thing about quitting cigarettes was the hugs from his grandchildren.

Mr Welfare had been a smoker for more than 40 years before starting a course at Toowoomba hospital eight months ago.

"I was still at school (when I had my first cigarette) and back then that was the in thing," Mr Welfare said.

"My mum and dad smoked, my grandparents smoked, all of my mates smoked - it didn't matter if you weren't a smoker, you just had a go at it."

Mr Welfare admitted to smoking more than 40 cigarettes a day at the height of his habit.

He credits the course for his recovery and is recommending it to others.

"I would still be smoking today if it wasn't for the course," he said.

"I used to get angry and frustrated and I would go back to it, but this time I had no problems.

"I have grandkids and they come up and hug me now. They didn't used to and I never knew why, and it was because I stank of smoke."

As of yesterday, Darling Downs Health has launched free nicotine replacement therapy for the public.

The therapy combines the use of nicotine patches and gum with support from medical practitioners, who can help monitor progress.

Darling Downs Health tobacco treatment specialist Jenny Minchell said the start of the new year was a great time to seek help to quit smoking for good.

"We know that many smokers make a resolution to quit at this time of year," Ms Minchell said.

"A new year means another chance to create a successful quit plan as we know that nicotine replacement therapy, or NRT, can increase the success of quitting by up to 70 per cent and brief interventions can be effective."

All smokers can contact the Quitline on 13 78 48 or online at QUIT HQ.


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