How old were you when you started smoking?
I started smoking when I was 16 - 18 years old and have done for around 42 years, with a few quit attempts in between.
Do you remember why you started smoking?
Smoking was much more common when I was young and there was not enough emphasis on the dangers of smoking. My father, sisters and friends all smoked, I probably just did the same as them.
How many cigarettes per day were you smoking on average?
11 - 15
What were your reasons for quitting?
I quit for my health and grandchildren (I want to see them grow up). I know smoking was taking its toll on my health. Ashamed that I smoked, grandchildren never knew and fortunately when they see anyone they say why do they smoke Grandma, it's stupid and it smells.
How did you access stop smoking support?
One-to-one, I would rate the support I received as excellent.
Did you use stop smoking products to help you quit?
How helpful did you find them?
The staff were very helpful. They never ever condemned me for smoking or told me off. They were always supportive and empathetic and gave some excellent advice. The champix was very helpful.
Apart from Champix, what else helped you to stay quit and smoke free?
Talking to NHS staff at the stop smoking clinic. Healthwise, I know any damage I have already done, I know I'm no longer contributing to making it any worse. The fact I also don't need to wash my hair every day and my clothes don't smell.
Deep breathing and positive thinking also helped!
Has your health improved since you quit and, if so, in what ways?
I seem to have more energy.
Have you achieved anything since quitting that you couldn't do whilst smoking?
I've started exercising more. I don't need to draw money out of the bank as much as I don't seem to spend much now.
What do you like about not smoking?
Being able to truthfully say I am an ex-smoker and don't smoke. I don't break off whilst doing things to go and have a cigarette.
I no longer have smelly hair or clothes, my teeth are whiter and I don't have to brush my teeth ALL the time to try and get rid of the smoking smell.
Do you know how much money you have saved by not smoking?
I don't look at it as saving money I look at it as not needing to spend money.
Do you have any plans to treat yourself with the money saved?
Not made any plans as such, my treat is mentally thinking that I may live longer.
What would you say to anyone who has recently started smoking, or, if you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self before you smoked that first cigarette?
Just don't do it, it's absolutely stupid and will affect you more than you will ever know and not in a good way.
To myself I would say don't do it because one day you will deeply regret ever starting smoking. It's easier to start than to stop, when stopping all I can think of is what a fool I was all those years ago to have started smoking in the first place.