…and still smoke-free! This is the longest I’ve lasted without smoking in 11 years, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t getting more and more difficult. On the first day I thought ‘oh, this isn’t so bad’ but since then I’ve realised what a big part cigarettes played in my life.

The habit has been the hardest thing to break. Smoking was built into my routine so I still feel cravings, but thanks to my nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products I haven’t been suffering too much from other nicotine withdrawal symptoms, such as feeling irritable and depressed.

I have been wearing 25 milligram patches for 16 hours a day, which have really helped. I used to use cigarettes as a reward for doing the washing up or after a task at work. I now use my inhalator to fill the gap

Quitting has meant big changes to my social life too. This weekend I had to avoid the pub as so many of my friends are smokers so I kept busy in other ways – like cleaning the flat!

On the positive side, it is really liberating being able to do things (like getting on the train to Somerset to visit my family for example) without thinking ‘when am I going to get a chance for a cigarette?’ and I really don’t miss smoking outside in the rain during breaks at work.

I check the NHS quit smoking app every day – the money I’ve saved is already adding up. As a treat this week I bought myself some new boots. This is a novelty as I never had money to spend on myself when I was smoking 20 a day.

This week I went back to Lloydspharmacy for a follow up appointment with Rebecca, the pharmacy assistant who is supporting me. We re-tested the volume of carbon monoxide in my lungs and I couldn’t believe that the reading – a worrying 11 last week – had dropped to a number 1 in just one week! Rebecca was really pleased and it is really encouraging to see the difference that quitting has made to my health in such a short space of time.

This has also spurred me on with my fitness regime and I’m jogging every other day. I’m finding it much easier now I’ve stopped smoking, which isn’t surprising as I read that within just 24 hours the lungs start clearing out mucus and other debris, and within 72 hours breathing feels easier and energy levels increase. I’ve also found that my sense of smell has vastly improved.

This week has been hard but I am determined to keep going. My family, friends and colleagues have been really supportive and I don’t want to let them down. Even better news is that my boyfriend is still smoke-free too which means we are one week closer to booking our dream holiday – I can’t wait!