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Qutting smoking leaves Angela with a spring in her running step

As a social smoker, keen runner Angela Tunstall, 48, from Barnard Castle was worried she would start smoking more after lockdown. When she experienced tightness in her chest while walking and running, her GP put her in touch with her local stop smoking service. With the help of the service, nicotine replacement lozenges and mouth spray, Angela successfully quit smoking earlier this year. She's no longer breathless and it's put an extra spring in her running step.

"Smoking for me has always been associated with socialising. Smoking and drinking went hand-in-hand for me, and on nights out I would usually smoke between 10 and 15 cigarettes.


"I always considered myself a light smoker, but my kids hated it and were very vocal. My teenage daughter always commented and got upset when I lit up and would say things like 'Do you know what you are doing to your body?' and 'What will I do if you die?' I found myself hiding the fact I smoked and feeling very guilty about it.


"When lockdown happened, the ban on socialising helped me cut my smoking to a minimum and I stepped up my favourite exercise – running.


"That's when I noticed my chest getting tight and heavy during a run and I was breathless – which I was never aware of before. It hit me how smoking was affecting my body. With news of the lockdown ending, I was also worried beginning to socialise again would up my smoking intake. I decided to go to my GP, who prescribed an inhaler and put me in touch with my local stopping smoking service.


"They've been fantastic and recommended using lozenges and spray for when I'm experiencing cravings. It's been much easier to stop than I thought. And the benefits have been almost instant. I no longer get breathless after running and I haven't needed the inhaler at all. In fact, it's turbo charged me and my running's much better.


"I've also seen a big difference in my kids. They were really pleased when I told them I'd stopped smoking and at a recent family gathering everyone was so relaxed and happy. My daughter wasn't telling me off and I didn't have to worry about hiding cigarettes. It's made me realise I simply don't need cigarettes to enjoy myself."