Cigarette butts in an ashtray

Smoking for 40 years – it’s time to quit

Steve and Jacqueline are married and live in Eastbourne. Jacqueline has progressive MS and Steve has relapsing MS. Steve told us their story.

My first symptom was drop foot

I worked as a shop fitter, so when I started suffering from drop foot, as it was a manual job I had to give it up.

My wife and I recognised my symptoms as she has progressive MS. I’m still quite mobile, but find the sun crucifies both of us. And in the past, I haven’t been let into pubs because the bouncer has thought I was drunk!

My MS nurse Vicky is only a phone call away – she’s an unsung hero. She’s taught me to do time management so I can recognise when I’m tired. Now I’ll do something and then have a sleep.

I’ve been smoking since I was 10!

I did the MS Society survey on smoking and, if I’m honest it upset me. But I know they wouldn’t say something about smoking and MS if they didn’t have the evidence to support it.

They wouldn’t say something about smoking and MS if they didn’t have the evidence to support it.

I’ve been smoking since I was 10! By about 15, I was smoking every day – around 10 cigarettes. You could buy them from a vending machine outside school.

Peer pressure got me started

My parents were smokers and my friends (who were older) smoked, so there was a bit of peer pressure for me to do it.

I had quite affluent grandparents who gave me money and I would always spend it – along with what my parents gave me for pocket money and earnings from my part-time job - on cigarettes.

As I got older I started social smoking, especially when drinking and could smoke up to 60 a day! It was a hell of a lot cheaper then.

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Jacqueline and I both want to stop – it’s our goal to stop. Knowing it could prevent us from becoming more disabled is an incredible motivator. 

We gave up but bad news started us off again

I stopped smoking for two years, but at the beginning of the year started again as we received some bad news and it was an automatic response.

I put it down to a lack of sleep, but my MS nurse Vicky said it was a relapse and put me on a five-day course of steroids which helped.

We want to quit to save our health - and a lot of money

Jacqueline and I both want to stop – it’s our goal to stop. Knowing it could prevent us from becoming more disabled is an incredible motivator.

We don’t set a time frame as MS is unpredictable. We both support each other and want to have a good old crack at it – not just for our health, but financially as its so expensive now.

We’re down to smoking 10 a day and have both got vapers. Mine is a minty menthol and Jacqueline has Orange Tic Tac and Blueberry Mountain.

Your routes to quit

If you want to make a quit attempt this October you won’t be alone. There’s support wherever you live in the UK.

If you live in England - sign up for Stoptober

If you live in Scotland - find help on the NHS 

If you live in Wales - find help on the Help Me Quit website

If you live in Northern Ireland - find help on the Want 2 Stop website

If you're worried about this information or have questions about smoking and MS, please call our free MS Helpline on 0808 800 8000 or email helpline@mssociety.org.uk