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Tuesday 16 January 2018

‘He would have made a lovely grandad’ – the story behind harrowing new anti-smoking ad

Pauline Bell in QUIT's television ad
Pauline Bell in QUIT's television ad
Pauline Bell in QUIT's television ad

Meadhbh McGrath

A moving television ad for QUIT Smoking shows a mum-of-two describing her love for her late husband, who died of a tobacco-related disease at just 48 years of age.

The ad follows Pauline Bell from Wexford as she goes about her day, recalling how she first met her husband George.

“In his day, he had jet black, curly hair and beautiful eyes, real chocolate brown eyes,” she said.

“We met in February and he asked me to marry him in the June. We were married the following February 27.”

Pauline offered to share her story for QUIT’s “2 in 1” campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the fact that one in every two smokers will die of a tobacco-related disease.

“He’d love to iron on a Sunday, I didn’t like ironing. He’d have his cup of coffee and his cigarettes, he’d have Christy Moore on in the background, and he was happy as Larry ironing all day,” she said with a smile.

“He would say, ‘when you’re gone, you’re gone, you’re going to die sometime’. But I don’t think he realised he was going to go at 48.”

Pauline Bell in QUIT's television ad
Pauline Bell in QUIT's television ad

When George died, he left behind Pauline and their two children, and she talks about how the family has been affected by his loss.

“I miss him, the kids miss him. He would have made a lovely grandad,” she said.

George was a heavy smoker, and died from a heart attack while the couple were on holiday in Alicante.

In the ad, Pauline describes the day he died.

“We were sitting on a beach one day making plans. He was 48, I was 47, we were planning 50 birthdays, everything. At twenty to 1am that night, he died,” she said.

In a statement, QUIT added: “Pauline hopes to inspire others to quit – for their own health, and to prevent other families experiencing what they have been through.”

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