Quit Smoking This March Says Quids In Ex-Smoker

Make March your month to quit says James Large

Make March your month to quit says James Large

James Large has kicked the habit of smoking. It was never easy, but he has shared his journey of smoking cessation to help other take the path to a better health, a better lifestyle and importantly, a healthier bank balance.

The stark message from James Large, a trade union chairperson at the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust, who, after many attempts to quit smoking, has finally achieved his goal. For many years he struggled to kick the habit. 

Incredibly, the penny dropped when James realised he was financially going downhill. He said “I was paying more for cigarettes than I was for my mortgage.”

This year’s ‘No Smoking Month’ theme is ‘Make March Your Month to Quit’ and James has agreed to highlight his story in an attempt to help others give up cigarettes. 

James began his smoking cessation journey in November 2021.  Within a couple of months of quitting cigarettes, James started competing in weekly 5k Parkruns and is regularly seen jogging around the Moat Park at lunchtime instead of his usual smoke break offsite!

Incredibly James has transformed himself over a period of months, now eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. He is no longer out of breath walking short distances and is also saving a small fortune which he is using as additional income to treat himself and his family.

James Large… ex smoker.

To highlight the importance of smoking cessation and the health benefits, James took part in a short video outlining his journey. Colleagues within the Trust were queuing up to take part in the video telling him how proud they are of him and to let him know about the positive changes they have noticed in him recently. 

Several of them commented that he now looks healthier and he explained it is down to him taking up exercise and eating a healthier diet. His lifestyle has been totally overhauled and he has now taken control over his current and future health.

Commenting on the video, James said: “My message to smokers is that it is important to do it for you, not for anyone else. By adopting this approach, I have succeeded in my attempt to stop smoking. I can’t believe I was smoking 30 cigarettes a day and incredibly spending more on cigarettes than my actual mortgage!”

James added, “Everyone’s journey is different, it took me a while to find out what would work for me, but I got there eventually.  For any smokers thinking of packing it in, ,think about your health, the money you will save and remember that smoking gives you a momentary hit but does nothing else but damage your health.  In these days when incomes are squeezed and the cost of living is rising, stopping smoking can lead to a substantial  increase in your  finances and that is good news for anyone at the minute.”

At least 2,300 people die every year in Northern Ireland directly due to tobacco use, and thousands live with chronic illnesses caused by long term smoking.

The impact on individuals and families and indeed the health service cannot be over-estimated. Any time of the year can be the right time to quit smoking,  but March is when we have the opportunity to promote the benefits of quitting and let smokers know of all the support that is available to help them.

Half of all youngsters who try smoking will become addicted and half of those will die early because of their habit. Unfortunately like any addiction, giving up can be a challenge.  However as James proves it can certainly be achieved. With cigarettes now costing around £10 a packet this will put quite a strain on anyone’s budget.

There are many benefits as James has outlined to having more energy, breathing better, and even whiter teeth!  Children of parents who smoke are up to 4 times more likely to become smokers themselves so perhaps even more importantly James will now have broken this trend for his own young family. 

To watch James’ journey and to hear what his colleagues have to say, please visit the news section on the Trust website:


The Stop Smoking Team at the South Eastern Trust can offer help and advice to quit. For further information please contact :


More information can be accessed at: