My parents were smokers; my father was a heavy smoker, around 60 a day. Smoking was quite fashionable when I was young; living in the nurse's home, only four of us didn’t smoke: my friend Buds from Trinidad, Curtis and Frazer from Tobago and Katherine from Canada. No one in those days understood the dangers of smoking; by the time we were made aware, I was a committed smoker of 20 a day.
I only tried to stop smoking when I was 21, and my then-husband went out and bought me a whole carton of two hundred, as he said I was so bad-tempered he couldn’t stand it; I’d lasted two weeks.
By the time I went to the smoking clinic, I’d smoked for 57 years; Fazila, the advisor, greeted me with Hello Margaret, you’ve come to see me because you want to stop smoking. I replied, no, I’ve come to see you because I have to stop smoking. I now have COPD, Asthma and Hay fever. My breathing had gotten so bad from smoking that I could barely climb stairs. It’s taken me almost seven months to stop smoking using the patches and imitation e-cigarettes, but I’ve done it. I couldn’t have done it without Fazila’s support and encouragement. She was nonjudgmental and let me take the steps to stop at my own pace. I can’t thank her enough.