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News Release

Bad cold becomes a success story for Barrie man

Feb 27, 2017
Barrie – What started like a bad cold for 57-year-old Mark Eveleigh is now a quit smoking success story – a real accomplishment for a man who smoked up to 80 cigarettes a day.

Barrie – What started like a bad cold for 57-year-old Mark Eveleigh is now a quit smoking success story – a real accomplishment for a man who smoked up to 80 cigarettes a day.

“I pretty much had one in my hand constantly, from the time I got up until the time I went to bed,” says Eveleigh. “And if I got up in the middle of the night I’d come down and have one, or two maybe.”

Like many people he started smoking in his teens because it seemed like the thing to do. Later on, his   job working alone on the road made it easy for him to smoke all the time and so he did.

But 35 years of smoking didn’t come without its health trade-offs and last summer they caught up with him.

He woke up “feeling unwell, like I had a bad cold” one Saturday and it got progressively worse. A few days later he was admitted to hospital with a severe lung infection. He was also diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) a lung disease directly linked to smoking. The symptoms include difficulty breathing, coughing, and wheezing.

While in the hospital and too sick to get out of bed, he was offered nicotine replacement therapy to deal with his nicotine cravings and a referral for community counselling to help him quit for good once he was well enough to go home.

It was an offer he knew he couldn’t refuse if he wanted to get better. “I had a chance to quit and I took it. I haven’t had one since and I’m not going to.”

When he was released from hospital, he made contact with the health unit for ongoing support. That support included the nicotine replacement therapy and one-to-one counselling with a public health nurse to help him while he was learning to adjust to the new smoke-free lifestyle.

Today Eveleigh says he is breathing easier and his energy has returned. He has been able to return to work, something he had been eager to do after spending so long at home recuperating.

Looking forward, he says he won’t go back to smoking, choosing instead to make sure he is there for his family.

“I want to walk my daughter down the aisle at her wedding. I don’t want her to have to push me down in a wheelchair.”

His message to others who are still smoking: “Don’t get as sick as I did to quit. Just think of the future.”

To hear Mark’s story and other inspirational stories visit the community Facebook page Tobacco-Free Chatter. If you want help to quit smoking call Health Connection weekdays at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 or visit the tobacco pages on the health unit website at

Do you have a quit story that would inspire someone else to quit? Share your #tobaccotradeoff story on Tobacco-Free Chatter and join the conversation  @TFChatter.




Mark Eveleigh, 57, quit smoking last summer breaking his four-pack-a-day addiction with the help of nicotine replacement patches, gum and support from the local health unit. For quit support call Health Connection.

 Mark’s Video story  


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