Health warning over risks of COPD from smoking

Smokers in Northumberland are being urged to quit and reduce their risk of developing a lung disease.

Friday, 13th March 2020, 9:00 am
Linda Liddle who was diagnosed with COPD after smoking for 42 years.

Latest estimates show nearly 9,000 people in the county could have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and more than 80,000 in the North East.

Ahead of No Smoking Day, Fresh is using its “Every Breath” campaign to raise awareness of the disease that is the UK’s fifth biggest killer.

Ailsa Rutter OBE, director of Fresh, said: “COPD is a disease too many smokers are not aware of until they are diagnosed, and yet more than a quarter of smokers will develop it to a level where it affects their mobility and their quality of life.

“I lost my own Dad prematurely to smoking related COPD and every day I think about all we have lost out on as a family.

“We want to ensure thousands more North East families get the chance to prevent COPD impacting on their lives in such a terrible way.

“Many smokers suffer from early warning signs of COPD like feeling short of breath or a cough but dismiss these as a normal part of smoking – when in fact it could be an early warning sign.

“Quitting smoking is the most important thing you can do to look after your health and avoid COPD. But if you have a lung condition, quitting is an effective way to treat it and slow its progress.”

Grandmother Linda Liddle, 66, from Ashington, has been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease after smoking for 42 years – and has now given up the habit.

She said: “My health was deteriorating and I knew I had to stop. It had got to the stage where I couldn’t hold a conversation with my husband because I couldn’t breathe properly.”

Linda stopped smoking with help from the Northumberland NHS Stop Smoking Service, saying: “I didn’t think it would be easy, but the encouragement I got from my stop smoking adviser made a big difference.

“She was absolutely brilliant, if I had any questions she was there when I needed her.”

Since quitting in September 2019, Linda has noticed a significant improvement in her health and quality of life: “I am able to have a conversation for the first time in a good while.

“I’m getting out more and I think my mood has improved. I feel such a lot of difference in myself. I don’t know why, but I feel lighter somehow.

“I have two grandsons and a little granddaughter and now I can enjoy spending time with them again.”

For help and advice from Northumberland Stop Smoking Service visit www.northumbria.nhs.uk/stopsmoking or call (01670) 813135.