A BIDFORD man who gave up smoking after 10 years has been rewarded for his efforts with Warwickshire County Council's ex-Smoker Factor challenge.
At the start of this year Public Health Warwickshire, which aims to improve the county's health, asked smokers to tell their stories in attempting to quit, and be in with the chance of winning some great prizes.
One of those smokers was Luke Murphy from Bidford who decided that after smoking regularly since the age of 15, it was time for him to give up.
"I had tried everything from attending cessation sessions to hypnotherapy. None of these techniques really worked for me as it was somebody else pressuring me to do so," he said.
"In January last year I took stock of a few things in my life and realised that I was due to be married in just over 18 months and would then maybe have children.
"The common denominator of making these two occasions a success was having money in place. I realised that smoking 20 cigarettes at £8.31 per pack was costing my partner and I around £60 a week or £240 per month.
"Once I was armed with this information I changed the 'fictitious' money into real goals. Over 12 months I could save nearly £3,000, that amount of money would buy us a new sofa, bed, TV and pay for my stag do in Thailand."
"The following April, I woke up and removed all smoking paraphernalia and, in line with the plan, embarked upon other activities such as tennis, the gym and football, all of which I had neglected.
"This feeling of keeping busy helped me greatly. Not only did I keep occupied and combat the craving, but in fact managed to forget about it altogether."
It has now been more than 10 months since Mr Murphy has given up and he has not craved a cigarette since.
He has a new car, a new sofa, a new bed and booked his stag do in Thailand, with his TV coming soon, all on savings from not smoking.
He also walked away with a family ticket to Charlecote Park and afternoon tea for two at Hathaway Tea Rooms in Stratford as his prize from Public Health Warwickshire.
For the most effective help to stop smoking contact NHS Warwickshire Stop Smoking Service 0800 085 2917, text free “LIFE” to 80800 or go to smokefreewarwickshire.org