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Deborah Hemstock, 56, originally from Winterton smoked for 25 years before deciding one evening to quit.

“I smoked on average 15-20 a day for 25 years. To me it was just the normal thing to do at work – have a coffee and a cigarette rather than something to eat in your break.”

Relationship with smoking
Going out, nothing was better than a cigarette with your drink. I was a regular visitor to Spain so was able to buy enough, fairly cheaply, until my next visit.

Why quit
I’d been thinking about quitting for some time, but the more my husband said ‘you stink of cigarettes’…the more I carried on!

Eventually it was my decision and nobody else’s influence.

Tools to quit
I came home from work at 10pm on Friday 5 June 2009, smoked my last cigarette at 10.26pm and washed my ashtray before putting it in the bin. It wasn’t easy, but it was up to me to quit. I had to change my mind set from needing a cigarette to doing something else like going for a walk or pottering in the garden, cleaning windows, anything to distract myself.

I don’t recommend picking a date or a time to quit, just say ‘that’s it’. I went cold turkey and didn’t want any help. It maybe wasn’t the most sensible way, but it was how I wanted to do it.

I noticed a real difference within six to nine months. I could enjoy my food more – something I hadn’t realised smoking was affecting. I did have a temptation to eat more, but I kept an eye on what I was eating.

Quit Together
I hope by sharing my story it helps at least one person to stop smoking.

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