After hypnosis, expensive products and cold turkey – Elaine has beaten nicotine!

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A LENNOXTOWN woman has saved thousands of pounds since she gave up cigarettes – and she’s sharing the secret of her success.

Elaine Ward (39) finally found the willpower to give up her 20 to 30-a-day habit more than a year ago – thanks to group therapy sessions at Kirkintilloch Health Centre.

Elaine started smoking when she was a teenager.

She admits, like most ex-smokers, quitting was something that was always at the back of her mind, but it took a few attempts before she gave up for good.

She said: “Most smokers go through numerous attempts to stop smoking. On average it takes people at least eight attempts.

“I tried everything to give up, including hypnotherapy and nicotine patches, but nothing really worked until I started taking part in the group sessions.”

Elaine says that working for nine years overseas in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps did not help when it came to quitting.

She said: “It became the norm for us to have a cigarette when we were on a break, and they are so cheap abroad.”

Elaine, who now works for community mental health, came across the sessions at the health centre - where she is also based - in August, 2010.

She took part in six week group therapy sessions and used a nicotine inhaler to help wean her off smoking.

At the start of the sessions everyone’s carbon monoxide level is checked and Elaine admits, “You do not realise how toxic you are until you see the result of that test.”

Although she has now quit for good, Elaine is the first to say that it is not an easy thing to do.

* If you want to quit smoking and would like more information on the support that is available locally, contact health improvement practitioner Cathy Williamson on 0141 355 2327 or 07766085900.