Today marks national No Smoking Day (March 11), with the estimated 130,000 smokers in Lincolnshire being urged to take the first step in giving up cigarettes for good.
Georgina Chambers, 69, from Louth, decided to quit smoking after a stint in hospital last year.
Having tried to give up smoking before using patches and lozenges with little success, she asked for help from the Phoenix NHS Stop Smoking Service.
Despite doctors advising her to give up following a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Mrs Chambers continued smoking.
She said: “I was ashamed of the diagnosis and didn’t even tell my daughter. I carried on smoking like normal and my symptoms were getting worse.”
Typical symptoms of COPD include increasing breathlessness when active,a persistent cough with phlegm, and frequent chest infections.
After staying in hospital for three days without one cigarette, Georgina was determined to give up smoking for good.
She said: “Donna is my Phoenix advisor and she’s been very supportive and listened to the feedback I was giving her. I was very honest and said I had been having the odd cigarette here and there and what was and wasn’t working for me.
“But with Donna’s support I’ve been using the lozenges again. I don’t get terrible cravings but I do sometimes miss having a cigarette. I know when I come off the lozenges that I will be relying on my will power, but I am determined to keep going.”
Georgina has had check-ups for COPD since giving up smoking and has been told positive news that there isn’t further damage.
“I do get breathless still. I’m a keen gardener but I know I have to take breaks and to not push myself too much.
“I’m now giving talks to other pulmonary support groups, and I’m definitely proud to be a quitter.”
• To find your nearest Phoenix NHS Stop Smoking adviser, call 0800 840 1533 or text ‘NoSmokingDay’ to 07786 205128. Alternatively, ask your doctor or nurse for a referral.