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I was 12 when I started to smoke. My father would throw a cigarette butt down on the floor and I’d pick it up and have a puff. My father would say ‘Where are you?’ and I’d be gone like a bullet with the cigarette. He never caught me smoking: he would have been very, very cross if he found me. He died of emphysema in the end brought on by cigarettes.
I knew I needed help to quit smoking. I had got very sick from smoking.
My chest was very, very bad; so much so that I couldn’t walk. I was never without my Ventolin inhaler.
It was the nurse in the hospital who gave me the name and number of my local stop smoking advisor, Miriam O’Shea.
The stop smoking group I joined was very good and Miriam was absolutely brilliant and so helpful.
We all had our problems with smoking but we all wanted to quit. You get involved with a group – everyone is so supportive.
I just won’t ever go back on the cigarettes again. I know now at this stage that it was the cigarettes that were causing me problems.
Since quitting, my health has been brilliant. I’m off them over a year now and very proud of it. My skin and hair are far better.
The best thing about being smoke-free is that my grandchildren love it. It’s a thrill that I can play with them, run with them and I can bring them to the park now.
I advise people from the bottom of my heart not to smoke and if you want help to quit smoking, go along to your local stop smoking group. Like me, you’ll be so glad you did!