People urged to follow Donna’s example and quit smoking

27 February 2018

Ex-smokers and health experts across the region are highlighting the benefits of quitting smoking with a new campaign video encouraging people to give up.

40-year-old Donna Friend lives with her partner Jamie and her five-year-old son.  She started smoking when she was 16 and went on to regularly smoke up to 20 cigarettes a day.

Quitting smoking has aided my recovery

Following some planned surgery at hospital, she headed outside for her usual cigarette when a nurse pointed out that to do so would not only affect her future health, but it could slow down her recovery time from the operation.  

The nurse’s intervention came as a surprise to Donna who had not been worried about her smoking habits before. However, after realising that to continue having cigarettes could slow down her recovery process and increase the risk of complications with things such as wound healing, she decided to quit.

She says: “I think that quitting smoking has aided my recovery. I’m really glad that I did it, my scars that I had have healed very nicely. I don’t know what they would’ve been like had I not given up smoking.”

Smoking can cause any number of serious and fatal diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease, bronchitis and emphysema. It can also have an effect on the people around you and doubles the risk of children getting chest infections from breathing in second-hand smoke.

I’m so glad I gave up smoking

Since quitting, Donna has gone on to enjoy a very healthy lifestyle.  She regularly goes to the gym and has recently completed the 5km ‘Pretty Muddy’ challenge, which she says she couldn’t have done had she continued to smoke.

Donna continues: “I don’t know what it would’ve been like had I not given up smoking. I’m really grateful to that nurse who asked me where I was going and what I was doing. I’m so glad that happened and that I did give up smoking.”

Quit now and notice the difference straight away

Dr Alex Degan, a GP in Mid Devon, said “We are always happy to help people quit smoking.  It can be one of the hardest things you do, but the health benefits will be life changing.

“If you quit now, you should notice the difference quickly as your circulation is boosted, your sense of taste returns and your general fitness and wellbeing improves.

“Many people do not realise that smoking can greatly slow down your recovery time after having an operation and by quitting you are allowing your body to repair scars and wounds at a much quicker rate.

“We are encouraging people to follow in Donna’s footsteps and quit smoking, it can be hard but with the right help and support you won’t be on your own.”

In shape for surgery

Evidence shows that improving general health and wellbeing before surgery greatly improves outcomes, shortens recovery time and significantly reduces the risk of complications.

Any steps people can take to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, reduce alcohol or substance use, or lose weight will all be of benefit.

Get help to quit

The NHS provides free support to anyone who wants to quit. Advice and more information can be found at or by visiting your local healthy lifestyle service or GP.

Healthy Lifestyle Service website NHS Quit Smoking website

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