Lloyd Free doesn’t remember the first time he had a cigarette, but he knows over the last four decades he’s had quite a few. Now, he’s been smoke-free close to a year.
He says quitting smoking has significantly improved his life – not only in terms of the vast health improvements, but also improvements in his relationships. He spends more time with people, and less time in the garage smoking alone.
Lloyd is proud that he has been able to stop the habit that has had a hold on his life for the past 40 years. He believes the change has not only increased the quality of his life but has likely added more years to it too.
As he continues on his path of being a non-smoker, he looks forward to spending more time with his family and his grandchildren.
Do you remember your first cigarette?
No, it was such a long time ago I actually don't remember my first cigarette.
How long were you considered a “smoker” for?
I had this habit for about forty years.
How did you quit?
I have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and was put on inhalers by the doctor because of the trouble I was having breathing.
I stopped smoking cold turkey after I was in the hospital for a week with breathing issues; I had to be on oxygen and was not able to smoke.
How long have you been smoke-free for?
I have been smoke-free for ten months.
Have you attempted to quit in the past? How many times?
Yes, I have tried to quit before but I only lasted a few weeks each time. This is the longest that I have ever been smoke-free. I’ve tried probably about a half of dozen times.
What’s the biggest thing you want to tell someone who has never smoked?
I would tell them to never start smoking as it’s such an addicting habit that takes control of your life.
If you continue smoking for a long period of time, you can have extreme health issues; not to mention food doesn't taste the same either.
What’s the biggest thing you want to tell someone who has smoked?
That not smoking has made me feel much better physically.
I am breathing much better and don't lose my breath as easy as before. The colour of my skin is better and my clothes and hands don’t smell like smoke anymore.
It was very difficult to quit mentally, but once I got through the initial withdrawal period being smoke-free gets easier every day.
What changes or improvements have you seen as a non-smoker?
I have an increased appetite and have gained weight. I enjoy the taste of food as I was not able to experience food the same when I was smoking.
Overall my health has improved; I am able to walk up the stairs now without being short of breath after.