Belfast Telegraph

Jason Shankey saved £14k in three and half years after quitting smoking

Jason Shankey had been smoking from the age of 11

Jason Shankey
Jason Shankey

Belfast businessman Jason Shankey has revealed he has saved almost £14,000 in three and half years after he finally managed to quit smoking

Speaking on No Smoking Day, coordinated by Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, the 47-year-old father-of-two said he had struggled to give up over the years, after smoking his first cigarette at the age of 11.

But Jason, who owns a group of hair and skincare salons in Belfast, also said that a complete change in his mind-set helped him to quit after several failed attempts. And he encouraged smokers to seek advice from Cancer Focus NI, which runs a dedicated Stop Smoking Service, on how best to kick the habit.

“I started smoking when I was 11 years of age,” he said.

“I suppose at the time it was because my mates were all smoking and we used to buy singles at the petrol station. By the time I was in first year I was buying a packet of 10, spending my money on cigarettes instead of lunch. The habit gradually crept up on me then. I couldn’t imagine myself going through the day without smoking. It was an addiction but I didn’t see it like that. I enjoyed smoking. I liked the flavour and the sociable aspect of it, as it was a lot more sociable years ago.

“By the time I reached fifth year I was smoking 20 a day, though at weekends, that probably went up to 40. I never really thought about the detrimental effects it could be having on my health, I just brushed that aside. Of course I’d seen the anti-smoking ads and the warnings on the packets but I was addicted, so I turned a blind eye.

In 2009 Jason decided to stop and was able to do so for a year. But after piling on five stone and being on a ski holiday, where he was in the company of other smokers, he fell off the wagon and took up the habit again.

However, with the aid of a book and a determination to quit, he got off the cigarettes three and a half years ago and hasn’t looked back since.

“I know now that it was all down to the way I approached giving up smoking,” he said.

“The second time I quit, my thought process was completely different and I had the help of a great book, The Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Allen Carr. It sets you up psychologically for success by telling you it’s not difficult to stop smoking. The marketing around smoking may not be visual now but there’s still a lot of hype around stopping and smokers are led to believe that it’s really tough to quit. One you realise this isn’t the case, it becomes easier.

“The other thing that really helped me was the Android app QuitNow! Pro, which tells you the date you stopped, the money you’ve saved and the health benefits. I’ve saved £13,900 from stopping smoking! And when it comes to health benefits, I’m now 100% on all of them, bar lung cancer but I’m 67% of the way to being the same as a non-smoker when it comes to the risk of developing lung cancer.”

Jason says he feels fitter, healthier and younger than ever before.

“Of course, when it comes to giving up cigarettes, everyone is different. What works for some may not work for others, but anyone looking for advice on how to quit should look up Cancer Focus NI’s website for great tips on how to kick the habit" he said.



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