A FORMER smoker is thousands of pounds better off after celebrating her first year without cigarettes.
Elaine Nicholson has put the £6,000-plus she would have spent on fags over that time to good use by splashing out on redecorating her Blyth home.
The 54-year-old, a housewife and mother of four, was initially reluctant to quit but decided the time had come to kick the habit after her husband Keith turned to the stop smoking service at Blyth Community Hospital for help.
She said: “Before I quit, I was putting one cigarette out and then I was thinking about the next one, which ended up with me smoking 50 cigarettes a day.
“I knew I should quit because I’ve got a family history of heart disease, but I didn’t believe I could actually do it. Quitting is the best thing I’ve ever done.
“The thing that helped me stop was getting rid of all my ashtrays, lighters and anything else that reminded me of smoking.
“Then I took it a step further. I used the money I would have spent on cigarettes to redecorate the whole house. I wanted a fresh start.
“The house looks better, smells better, and I feel better. It really helped, and it gave me something else to think about instead of cigarettes.”
The financial benefits of not smoking soon added up for Elaine as even the average smoker, on 20 ciggies a day, could save almost £2,500 a year, and she was getting through more than twice as many as that.
Northumberland Stop Smoking Services is calling on smokers in the county to take the leap and attempt to quit smoking.
Brenda Warner, a stop-smoking adviser at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Elaine’s story is a real inspiration and shows how stopping smoking can lead to much nicer things in life.”
For further details, call (01670) 813135 or 0800 012 1612.