Rapper who successfully quit smoking aims to inspire others to give up the ‘Dirty Habit’

Rapper Paul Carlson from Hackney
Whilst I was trying to give up I decided to write and record a song to inspire other people. I think it is a good song and I hope it gets picked up. To quit cigarettes you really need to find the willpower within you and go for it.
Rapper Paul Carlson from Hackney

A rapper who has successfully quit smoking with support from Hackney’s Stop Smoking Service, is hoping to inspire other smokers to give up cigarettes through a rap song he has recorded called ‘Dirty Habit’. 

Paul Carlson, aged 30 and from Hackney, was so inspired by the support he received that he decided to pen some lyrics with a strong anti-smoking message. He first started smoking five to 10 cigarettes a day at the age of 16.

In his late teens Paul got into trouble with the law and ended up in prison and it was there that his habit grew to smoking 30 + cigarettes a day; he would paint portraits for other inmates and receive payment through cigarettes rather than cash.

When leaving prison, he was transferred to the East London Foundation Trust (ELFT) and after being released from hospital he decided to give up smoking altogether.

Paul Carlson said: “During leave, I chain smoked 6 or 7 cigarettes in one hour, which made me wheezy and I found it harder to breathe when I went to the gym. I also noticed my fingers were going brown and I was so unhealthy that I couldn’t even taste my food anymore. I also needed to save money and I found I spent much more cash when I was smoking. So I went to my GP who then referred me to the Stop Smoking service in Hackney which was great for me.”

Whilst giving up Paul recorded the song ‘Dirty Habit’ with the help of Key Changes, a charity using music to help people recover from mental health problems.

Giving up smoking has lots of health benefits, from living longer and easier breathing, to improved fertility and younger looking skin. Quitting can also save money, with the average pack of 20 cigarettes now costing more than £10.

Paul is one of over 1,500 ‘Proud Hackney Quitters’ who successfully quit smoking through the Hackney Stop Smoking Service over the last 12 to 18 months. Advisors and clinics are available in various locations across the Borough and there is advice and support on using different stop smoking aids such as e-cigarettes to start cutting down. 

Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Devolution, said: “We have an excellent stop smoking service in Hackney, with specialist advisors offering a range of medication and one-to-one behavioural support across a number of locations in the borough. Giving up smoking will prevent serious health conditions and you’ll save money, so take the first steps to quit for good!”

There are around 43,000 smokers in the borough and smoking is still one of the single biggest leading causes of preventable disease and death in Hackney, killing more than 200 people a year.

Two thirds of all smokers want to quit smoking. With one-to-one support and stop smoking medication, a smoker is four times more likely to quit.For confidential, expert advice and where to get support to stop smoking, contact Hackney’s Stop Smoking Service on: 0800 046 9946 or: 020 3316 1085 or visit: www.smokefreehackney.org.

A video interview of Paul is also available at https://youtu.be/ZVUhyG2IQkI