Mum Brigid Oates had tried to give up smoking many times over the years but was always tempted to begin again.

It was when her son was diagnosed with asthma that she was finally prompted to stop and stay stopped.

Now not only is Richard, aged ten, feeling a lot better but Brigid too is a lot fitter, even completing a half marathon in last year's Great North Run, something she admits she could never have even have considered before.

She is one of tens of thousands of people who each year give up cigarettes, many taking their last puffs tonight in preparation for quitting tomorrow on national No Smoking Day.

Brigid, 39, of Buttershaw in Bradford, said she and her 37-year-old husband, who is also called Richard, had been smoking since they were teenagers.

She could quite easily get through a packet of 20 a day but they decided to quit together when Richard was diagnosed with asthma six years ago.

It was a huge struggle and even two years afterwards she still found herself craving cigarettes.

She had put on a lot of weight after quitting and had taken up aerobics and then running.

"I really loved smoking," she said. "I'd tried loads and loads of times to give up but I was never successful.

"Then my little boy was diagnosed as having asthma and that was decisive. They didn't blame it on me but deep down you know.

"I stopped smoking with my husband and waited until Christmas and New Year were out of the way. I started using the patches but had to stop because they were obviously too strong and were giving me nightmares and in the end I just had to use willpower but it was really, really hard.

"I missed a smoke after a meal or if we were having a drink so we avoided going out.

"It seemed to go on forever. You base your life around a cigarette and giving up means changing your whole life.

"When I stopped, I started putting weight on and went to aerobics to try and lose it and the running started from that.

"I'm not particularly fast or competitive but it's a personal achievement and I do feel better. Before I had lots of coughs and chest infections but now I never get them. It was a great achievement for me to do the Great North Run and I was really elated crossing the finishing line - the furthest thing from my mind was a cigarette. My son when he was diagnosed with asthma was on the highest medication but since I stopped smoking he doesn't have to take any

l For advice, tips and information about giving up smoking call West Yorkshire Smoking and Health on 0800 665544 from 9am-7pm Monday to Friday or the national quitline on 0800 002200

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