Manager’s plan to quit smoking after 40 years

Our Head of Communities and Housing with Support Helen Ryan is giving up cigarettes for good this October – so she can spend more time with her grandson.

New grandmother Helen has vowed to quit smoking for Stoptober – which takes place every October – after her grandson was born prematurely.

She made the decision to give up when her grandson Francis was born in August and she spent a lot of time visiting him at the Special Care Baby Unit at North Devon Hospital.

Helen said: “I’ve tried giving up a few times before but nothing really serious, but it was the birth of my beautiful new grandson that really spurred me on.

“When he was in the special care baby unit the hospital was plastered with posters saying that you must not smoke around babies or go near them if you have cigarette smoke on your clothes, so it really brought it home to me. I also wanted to be able to spend more time with my grandson by becoming healthier.

“I was a teenager when I started smoking 40 years ago and I have never been a non-smoker during my adult life so it will be very strange.”

Helen moved from cigarettes to vaping today – the official launch of Stoptober – and will give up vaping on 19 October. She says her colleagues have offered to give their support to her.

She said: “I’ve set the date of 19 October to give up as that’s when we have our whole team meeting and all my colleagues will be there to spur me on.

“My team have offered me a variety of support, from coffee to donuts and lots of empathy. Another colleague has already given up smoking with the help of e-cigarettes and that has also given me the impetus to do this.

“I hope that by doing this and sharing my story it will inspire others and especially those that have smoked for a long time. Just because you’ve smoked for 40 years it doesn’t mean you have to do it forever – if I can do it, so can you.”

For more information on Stop Smoking support in Plymouth call 01752 437177 or visit

Helen is pictured with Sue Shaw, PCH's Director of Homes, Neighbourhoods and Regeneration