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Susan Hewitson from Barry, gave up smoking last year aged 62, after being told she has COPD. She made a pact with her husband that they would kick the habit together.  

Over the years I tried no end of times to stop smoking but each time something happened to set me back. I gave up for over a year last time but then I had to take my father off his life support machine and I started smoking again there and then.

Earlier this year I collapsed with flu and I had an infection for four months after that. I then developed pneumonia. I went back to work but saw my doctor again because I kept getting breathless. They told me to use a ventilator. I eventually got to see a doctor at the chest clinic who said I had minimal COPD and told me to use a different pump once a day. He also told me I should give up smoking and I just said ‘fine’.

In the past I’d found it difficult to give up because my husband smokes like a chimney. This time when I decided to give up he said, ‘pick a date and we’ll do it together’. We quit on the anniversary of Aberfan – on  21st October last year.

This time I went to see the chemist because I liked the fact that they kept testing you with the CO monitor and the pharmacist is a  nice lady.

I didn’t tell my husband, but when we both stopped smoking I opened a separate bank account and started putting in the money that we would have spent on cigarettes each week. When I told him how much we’d saved he was gobsmacked. I said: ‘we’re not just going to leave that money sitting in the bank’, so we booked a holiday to Ibiza instead.  It has really spurred him on.

I definitely feel there’s been an improvement since I stopped smoking. I can walk further uphill and I don’t seem to be wheezing anymore.

I don’t think about whether I should have stopped smoking sooner. You can’t change the past, but you can change the future.

If you want to stop smoking Help Me Quit is run by NHS Wales and will help you to find the stop smoking service that best suits you. Contact them on 0800 085 2219 or visit www.helpmequit.wales.

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