A dad who had a serious health scare has pledged to give up smoking so he can live to see his son grow up.
Peter Ramcharitar, of Elm Farm, Aylesbury, is taking part in national stop smoking campaign Stoptober.
After being discharged from hospital around a year ago after a health scare he gave up the cigarettes, but returned to the habit just a few months later.
The 48-year-old NHS worker, who has been smoking for around 23 years, said: “I was struggling to give up individually, but with all the support the campaign offers, I felt it was a good opportunity.
“I have an eight-year-old son, who I want to be around for, and I’m married, so want to spend time with my wife.
“My son’s never seen me smoking, but he knows I do. I felt so guilty when I started up again after giving up.
“My family has been very supportive of my decision to give up smoking, as have all my colleagues.
“Admittedly though, working for the NHS makes absolutely no difference to your smoking habits. You see what it does, but it doesn’t change anything.
“Once you’re hooked, that’s it. As a smoker, you always have an uncomfortable chesty feeling too, but even then you carry on. It’s very addictive.”
Before the health issues, Mr Ramcharitar smoked around 20-30 cigarettes a day. This would have cost him up to £3,825 per year. He now smokes ten a day, which still costs more than £1,000 per year.
Thousands of people across the country are taking part in Stoptober.
The campaign, which started on Monday, is aimed at getting smokers to quit for the whole of October - research has shown that if you can stop smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stay a non-smoker.
The Stoptober package, available from www.smokefree.nhs.uk/Stoptober, includes a preparation pack, 28-day quit calendar and health and wealth wheel.
Smokers will also receive support and encouragement through a daily messaging service, inspiration from celebrity mentors and expert advice.
As well as the financial benefits of stopping smoking, those undertaking the 28 day programme will experience physical improvements including a better sense of smell, taste and more energy.
Longer term, those who stop smoking reduce their risk of heart disease and lung cancer.