DAVE Oliver started smoking cigarettes when he was 13 and ended up with a 60-a-day habit - until he got a shock which changed his life forever.

The retired 58-year-old, of Dines Green, Worcester, said: "I smoked my last cigarette when I was ringing the ambulance to say I've got chest pains.

"The pain was all across my chest, down my arms and up into my neck.

"It was a heart attack."

His chest bears the scars of the quadruple heart bypass needed to repair the damage done to his smoke-ravaged arteries.

The details of the operation are enough to make even the hardened smoker quit.

He said his chest was cut open and veins from his leg were used to repair arteries blocked from years of smoking.

The former chain smoker said his heart problems, which began in July 2006, gave him the shock he needed to kick the habit and he has not looked back since.

He said: "In my mind I just said enough's enough, you've had your warning."

Mr Oliver said he went cold turkey' and did not use any nicotine replacement products to quit his unhealthy habit.

"I feel 75 per cent better," he said.

"I feel better in myself. I always want to get up and I'm a bit more lively than I used to be and sleep better.

"I'm able to do more things, although not as much as I would like to do.

"It's getting into an exercise regime now - I've got to keep up exercise or I will be in serious trouble again."

Dave says he still experiences health problems but is thrilled to have given up smoking.

"If I exert myself too much I can feel my heart beating very fast and it feels as if my heart is trying to push itself out my chest," he said.

He hopes his story will make other smokers quit and welcomes the ban.

"It will be nice to go into a pub now and have a shandy and not have to put up with the smoke," he said.

"I can't stand the smell of it now."

Julia North, of the Worcestershire Smoking Advice Service, said the new legislation had given many smokers the incentive they needed to give up.

She said: "In the last couple of weeks we have been getting more phone calls and lots of smokers want to quit just before or around the time of the ban.

"We are expecting to be busy for the rest of this period right into the new year.

"The smoke-free ban will bring around a positive change in the culture of smoking and it will no longer be enjoyable to be a smoker when you are out in a pub or restaurant.

"It will be inconvenient and many smokers welcome this because they want to give up and the ban will make it easier to give up.

"The ban is not about smokers or an anti-smokers ban, it's about creating a safe environment for everybody, because second-hand smoke is very dangerous and does cause deaths.

"The single most important thing that you can do for your current and future health is to give up smoking - right now."


After 20 minutes - blood pressure and pulse return to normal.

One hour - your circulation improves and your hands and feet feel warmer.

Eight hours - nicotine and carbon monoxide levels fall and oxygen in your blood returns to normal.

One day - your lungs begin to work better than before and carbon monoxide is removed from your body.

Two days - your taste and smell improves and nicotine is removed from your body.

Three days - breathing becomes easier and your energy levels increase.

Two weeks - withdrawal symptoms ease and walking and daily tasks become easier to do.

One month - withdrawal symptoms stop and your breathing and energy levels continue to improve.

Six months - risk of heart attack, cancer and other smoking-related diseases begins to fall.

Five years - You now have half the chance of having a heart attack compared with a smoker.

Ten years - the chance of getting lung cancer is now half that of a smoker and your chances of having a heart attack are now the same as someone who has never smoked.


1. Contact your local NHS stop smoking service.

2. Identify your smoking triggers and plan ahead.

3. Take one day at a time and reward yourself every day.

4. Buddy up with a friend so you can support each other.

5. Use nicotine replacement products to cope with withdrawal symptoms (ask your GP for a prescription).

6. Avoid situations where you might be tempted to smoke again.

7. Note how much cash you save and treat yourself.

8. Keep telling yourself that you can do it.

9. Make a plan, including how you will cope with difficult situations and cravings.

10. Set a quit date and stick to it.

11. Smoke as usual right up until your quit date.

12. Don't try even one cigarette after you have quit.

13. Say I don't smoke', not I've given up' when offered a cigarette and think of yourself as a non-smoker.

14. Don't give up giving up.

REMEMBER: You are reducing your risk of illness, disability or death caused by cancer, heart disease and lung diseases by quitting.

You are reducing your risk of gangrene or amputation caused by circulation problems.

You are protecting the health of the people you care about by not making them breathe your second-hand smoke.

You are reducing the chances of your children suffering from asthma.

You are improving your fertility and your chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby.