Building a Better Health Service


Edward Humphry Kicks the Habit

Friday, 2nd February 2018

When Edward Humphrey went from smoking 20 cigarettes a day to 60, he knew his habit was out of control and resolved to quit.

After smoking for more than 20 years, the Wicklow man Edward is now enjoying all the benefits of being a non-smoker and loves setting a healthy example for other men in his local Men’s Shed in Wicklow Town.

“One day I realised I had just had to stop smoking. I had been a smoker for more than 20 years. But I had gone from smoking 20 cigarettes to 60 cigarettes a day,” he said.

“I was going through a very stressful time in my life and I found myself stubbing one cigarette out and lighting another.

“I knew that I didn’t need the cigarettes. I started thinking about what I was getting out of smoking and I realised I wasn’t gaining anything. I had my reasons for quitting and I knew I didn’t want the smell from cigarettes or the cost of them anymore. I wanted my sense of smell back and to feel healthier and fitter.”

He revealed that when he stopped smoking, he had strong cravings for the first two weeks but with each urge, he would say to himself that this longing for a cigarette would pass.  

“I knew the difference between the ‘needing’ a cigarette and ‘wanting’ a cigarette,” said Edward.

“For the next two years I was smoke-free, until I accepted a cigarette from a colleague. It was the silliest thing I did. After a few drags I began coughing and spluttering. It really re-enforced my decision to stay smoke-free.

“My wife also learned from me that you can quit if you want to and stopped smoking too, not long after. Our son was delighted that we had both stopped smoking.”

He also highlighted the many extra benefits quitting has brought.

“As a smoker if I put petrol in the car, I’d worry if I have enough to pay for it. But since quitting I always have cash. The stress of not having to worry about money is a huge burden off my shoulders,” he said.

“I also really enjoyed tasting my food again. However, I noticed that I was beginning to put on a little bit of weight so I began to eat slower.  Now I savour my food and enjoy each mouthful. In the end the weight balanced itself out.

“After I quit smoking thought I’d be able to run faster but what I actually noticed was that my recovery was quicker. I enjoy spending time rambling in the hills of Wicklow.

“I really like heading down to my local Men’s Shed in Wicklow Town. I helped set it up but didn’t join until two years ago. Sheds are designed to offer a safe and friendly place where men from all walks of life can work on projects at their own pace and time in the company of other men. We have a workshop where we make bird boxes, bat roosts, plant holders and fairy doors. There’s also a wood burning stove but since I stopped smoking my sense of smell is so heightened I’ve lads not to burn varnished or painted wood as the fumes bothered me.

“If I had some advice for someone who was thinking of quitting or for someone who was having a tough time staying quit, I would say to them to think about what you are going to get out of quitting rather than thinking about what they are giving up.

“Write down all your reasons for quitting and stick the list somewhere you’ll see it. As soon as you quit, your body will start to recover and heal and you’ll begin to notice the difference.”

The HSE’s QUIT service provides one to one intensive support with trained smoking cessation practitioners in 75 clinics across Ireland. QUIT today call 1800 201 203 or sign up for your QUITplan on