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Kathleen's story

Kathleen didn't even realise at the time that she had been a long time chronic smoker. But since then, she's given up and made some big realisations.

This is my story ... As a child my memories of cigarettes revolved around my father smoking in the car with only an inch of the window down.

He would argue with me, as I chocked and spluttered, that the smoke was definitely going out the window and not into my face in the back seat!

As an early teen - being asked a million times to get his smokes and ashtray for him - I started taking a few to try for myself. So I started my smoking addiction at 13 years old. Back then it was about 'being naughty' and proving I could do it, and I now admit I was wrong when trying to tell my mother (who was horrified when she found out) that it was all under control.

I'm now 42, I'm shocked to reflect that I have smoked for 29 years, and I haven't had a cigarette for 4 days. I have noticed in the past few years that I have a distinctive smokers cough, and I'm sick of worrying about whether I smell or if anyone knows at work!

Slavery to the nicotine, I've been kidding myself. I became so ill this week with bronchitis I thought that maybe this was it - am I now heading quickly towards being diagnosed with something nasty?

So I quit. I'm done. It's hard giving up something that has been in my life for so long, but it's time. I'm surprised that I made it this far, so I can keep going, and I will.

I've discovered to my horror that YES I DID smell - I've washed so many things that have the faint aroma! I can smell my hair freshly washed now and my deodorant. I even smelt my husband's apple that he was eating the other night, such a gorgeous and wonderful smell! So the fear of illness is starting to leave me, I'm already breathing better and smelling sweet!

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