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Lee standing in front of a house. He has his hands in his pockets,

“My niece was the person who motivated me – she said how much better I’d feel if I stopped smoking. She wanted me to do it for my health.”

45-year-old Lee smoked since he was 18 – but encouragement from his niece and the COVID-19 crisis spurred him to keep going with his quit attempt. He has now been smoke-free for nearly five months.

Lee said: “I started smoking when I was around 18. I tried cigarettes a few times in my mid-teens, but around the time I started going out and having a few drinks, I smoked heavily as well.

“My routine was to have a cigarette in the morning and then I mostly went without during the day. As soon as I went to the pub though or drank at night, I would smoke much more – I’d say up to 20 or 30 cigarettes.

“I used to be a painter and decorator – good work – and it took me all over. But I had an epileptic fit eight years ago and lost my sight in one eye, which meant that I couldn’t do the work anymore.

“It was tough. I used to get chest infections often, which I’m convinced were linked to smoking. Since quitting, I don’t even get coughs.

“With the present climate and coronavirus, I’m so glad I have quit. My niece who I am close to, was the person who motivated me – she said how much better I’d feel if I stopped smoking. She wanted me to do it for my health. I was sick of waking up, coughing and spluttering – so I made myself give quitting a go. Once the patches went on, that was it. It’s been nearly five months now.

“I have found quitting fairly easy – especially since I went on the patches. I haven’t had cravings and as time has gone on, I just can’t imagine ever wanting a cigarette again. It’s changed my life. My niece is over the moon I have stopped.

“Around eight or nine weeks in, I noticed that I started being able to smell things again – freshly cut grass, plants, fresh air. I hadn’t realised how much smoking had affected my senses before I quit.

“I’ll never go back to smoking. People often don’t realise that although nicotine is addictive, it’s all the chemicals in tobacco that are deadly. I won’t ever put that into my body again. My advice to people is to get to know the facts. If you put your mind to it, you can stop. You’ve got to be determined – but it does get easier.”

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