I don't think that smoking is very Feng Shui but I did smoke up till 7 years ago. I had taken up the silly habit when some boy offered me and a friend a cigarette. You feel stupid saying no and like a complete fool I tried one. I got hooked straight away. By the time I got home I was looking for one of my parents cigarettes as they both smoked at the time although both gave up in their 50's.  Nearly every-one smoked back then. We were all 'virtually' encouraged by the media, films, TV, adverts and friends and family sometimes.

Anyway, by the time I left school what little money I earned went on cigarettes. People smoked at work, I can remember 1985 sitting at my desk puffing away.
When I was a small child I can also remember the doctor walking into the surgery with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth!!!

I always had a cough. Twice it turned into Pneumonia and I suffered with Bronchitis almost constantly, but still I carried on smoking. I met and married and my husband who also smoked.
My poor children. I look back with shame as I realize what it must have been like for them.

I can remember feeling very ill one day when I was about 30 and my friend advised me to go to the doctor. It turned out to be Pleurisy but still I carried on smoking.

I did manage to give up for 8 months a couple of years later but was relieved to start again. Life could get back to normal?

The years passed by and thousands of pounds, coughs and cigarettes later, my mother died in January 2006. You start to realize time is running out and none of us are immortal.

By the June my husband and I decided to stop smoking and agreed to stop after a cruise holiday in the May. I dreaded it. I knew how much will power it would take but I was beginning to worry about my own health.

We both went on the nicotine patch and duly stuck one on our arms. After a couple of hours it had started to itch and I knew I couldn't be doing with it so without further ado I ripped it off and decided to go 'cold turkey'.

I felt an inner strength within me and carried on with the good fight. My hubby carried on with the patch.

After a week I felt I needed some help and after doing a bit of research came across a book by Allen Carr called 'The easy way to stop smoking'.

I read this in a day or so as I was hungry for inspiration to keep going and it did just that. He had written the book in a way that showed up nicotine for what it was.

After a week I started to worry about the weight I was already putting on so I wondered if Allen Carr had wrote anything about that. Sure enough, he had wrote a book called 'The easy weigh to lose weight'.

I went out and found it and duly read it in about 2 days. Half way through the book I realized it was going a bit vegetarian and I was a bit miffed. After all, I wanted advice on losing weight, not stop eating meat. He wrote about fish being a good choice and ugh! I didn't like fish much. As I finished the last page and closed the book. I turned to my husband and said "I'm never going to eat meat again", and I haven't. So, in a week or so I became a non-smoker and stopped eating any type of meat.

I was totally lost as I hadn't intended to stop eating meat. However I am so happy I did because I feel Allen Carr had hit on my inner wishes.

Now then, moving on it wasn't easy. After 6 months I still fancied a cigarette and felt I was bereaved. My life just wasn't the same. I could only associate smoking with special moments or times of distress and felt lost when those times would happen. Housework and anything that needed a little thought was hard work. I couldn't seem to focus. Also I had put on some weight.

I had read about the nicotine chewing gum and how it helped to keep off the weight and decided to try them in secret.

I feel terrible saying this but for the first time since I gave up smoking I felt 'normal' again. I jumped up off the settee and went through the place until it was gleaming.

But of course I had just put back nicotine in my body. I was still suffering from withdrawal symptoms. I had probably undone a lot of my good work. Somehow I must have got my husband on them too as before long instead of puffing away we were both chewing away. They are not cheap either. Between us we were still spending a small fortune.

This went on for over two years and one day we both agreed it had to stop. We set a date for two weeks later that we would give up the nicotine chewing gum.

It was hard but not as hard as giving up smoking. It only took about 2-3 weeks for the withdrawal symptoms to go.

After that I got hooked on ordinary gum, them boiled mints but quickly gave them up as they were ruining my teeth.

I went back to sugar free gum and try to limit that.

But we made it. I haven't smoked a single cigarette since the day I stopped and never will. I'm so glad I stopped and it really doesn't bother me at all. I don't miss it now and really do feel a lot healthier.

If I could advise anyone it would be to stop cold turkey if you can, but if not do what suits you and never give up trying. Remember, if at first you don't succeed, try and try again.