My name’s Nathan Salmon and I’m a smoker. That’s not a phrase that I’m going to be able to use tomorrow: this is my last day. After 22 years it’s going to be strange referring to a 30-a-day habit in the past tense.

I’d been thinking about giving up for a while (not quite the full 22 years, there were lots of guilt -free – and frankly enjoyable – cigarettes at the beginning) but like most smokers I’ve been able to push the health risks to the back of my mind.

But then I turned 40 and started getting a bit more breathless. And then I found out my girlfriend was expecting twins. And then I decided that I really had to give up.

My previous attempts at quitting had all misfired. ‘Cold Turkey’ was better left as a Boxing Day snack. On a tip from a friend, herself a former smoker, I decided that this time I would do it with help from LloydsPharmacy.

A phone call later I was in my first private consultation. The pharmacist, Claudio, talked me through the process of giving up. What he offered was useful information, and expertise on using Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), but also personal reinforcement. His explanation of the health risks and of what was actually involved in quitting steeled me for what I assumed was a grueling task.

Thankfully, it was clear that the range of products offered by Lloydspharmacy was going to alleviate much of the struggle. After a personal assessment – age, how long I’ve been smoking, how quickly I have a cigarette after waking up – I was given a carbon monoxide test. A friendly and calm pharmacy assistant measured the quantity of the gas in my lungs and gave me a score of 25 parts -per -million, apparently typical for a 30 -a -day habit. But for most non -smokers, this figure is less than 1 and it was my goal to bring that number right down.

Lloydspharmacy’s personal approach meant that I wasn’t swamped with endless products that I would never use. I left with just two Nicotine Replacement products specifically chosen to tackle my habit: patches and a Quickmist spray.

I am going to use one patch per day and the Quickmist as required – it helps to tackle those sudden cravings that are the crisis -points for any quitter. And now, this is it. Tomorrow is my first day as a former -smoker. I’m confident in myself – my reasons for quitting have never been stronger – but it is quite daunting nevertheless.

That’s why it’s reassuring to know that I won’t be doing it alone. I’ve signed onto Lloydspharmacy’s 7 -week programme and I’ll be going back for a consultation next week. A smoke -free week. I’ll keep you posted…