Imagine for a minute the prospect of turning your life on its head by kicking a habit; the habit.

Faced with the damning statistics, Karen Hutchinson (right) avoided joining the 100,000 people who die of a smoking-related illness every year in the UK and made the biggest U-turn of her life when she turned her back on cigarettes.

Twenty a day, six-hundred a month and a bill of around £3,000 per year for the privilege.

So was it worth it?

In a word, “no.” And, aside from the financial benefit of “not having to watch every penny,” there lay sentimental reasons for being smoke-free eleven months after stubbing out for good.

“I am feeling really well,” Karen says.

“My third grandchild has just been born and I can cuddle them anytime instead of having to wait for an hour after I had a fag.

“I feel fitter than I have felt for years.”

Her health underpins everything and Karen’s welfare is progressing well, with the help of Barnsley Stop Smoking Service, who have one of their six clinics located at the Hospital.

“I had a check up couple of months ago for my chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),” she continued.

“I have surpassed their expectations and my breath output was up to 80% from around 72%.

“They have told me that I have halted its progress which is fantastic (no oxygen for me) and I have put on some weight which the doctor, and my husband Andy, was pleased about because I was substituting meals with cigarettes.

“Paula Wilkinson and her team are second to none. I could not have done this on my own; I didn’t have enough will power to go it alone. Now I can’t imagine smoking again as the smell actually makes me feel sick.”

Set to celebrate her 34th wedding anniversary in Whitby next month with the money she saved from quitting, Karen has greatly enhanced her chances of celebrating many more to come.

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