WHEN 25-a-day smoker Lisa Taylor tragically lost her unborn baby at 39 weeks she blamed the cigarettes – but carried on lighting up.
Even when her grandparents died from cancer after smoking the 35-year-old still didn’t give up.
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But when her tearful young daughter, Ebony, turned to her and pleaded “I don’t want want you to die mam” Lisa finally vowed to pack in for good.
Lisa is one of the hundreds of people in Hartlepool and east Durham who quit the habit – putting the area second in the country for the number of successful quitters last year.
But sadly the area is still one of the worst in the country for the number addicted to the dreaded weed.
Today, on National No Smoking Day 2012, dedicated Lisa urged other smokers to quit and told the Hartlepool Mail how finally packing in cigarettes has changed her life.
Lisa was just 11 when she smoked her first cigarette.
Little did she know at the time that it would start an addiction which saw her smoke 25 cigarettes every day for the next 24 years.
Tragically, seven years ago, Lisa lost her son Dylan, when he was stillborn.
In a frank interview with the Mail, she revealed how medics never confirmed that the death of her son was due to her smoking throughout the pregnancy. But she bravely admitted that her habit could well have led to the devastating loss.
Lisa, an unemployed call centre worker, who lives in Tweddle Crescent, in Blackhall, with husband Andrew, 39, a bus driver, and their three children, Ebony, nine, Lewis, eight, and Grace, five, admitted she sometimes still blames herself for the premature death of Dylan.
She said: “Everyone at the hospital told me not to worry, but I do regret smoking through the pregnancy.
“A lot of stillbirths are caused by smoking and that is what makes me think my smoking had an impact.
“They were never sure whether that caused it, but the doubt is always there.
“I knew the dangers at the time, but I was very stubborn.”
Lisa also lost both her grandparents to cancer caused by smoking – her granddad eight years ago from lung cancer and grandmother in January last year.
In 2004 Lisa briefly stopped smoking when she was pregnant with Grace, but it was in June last year when the reality of her habit finally hit home.
Her daughter, Ebony, who is a pupil at Blackhall Primary School, told her mum she didn’t like her smoking and said she was scared it would make her go to heaven.
“That was when I knew I had to stop,” admitted Lisa, who used anti-smoking tablets to help her finally quit. When the little one is asking me to quit I knew I had to, it was heart-wrenching.”
Since Lisa smoked her last cigarette at the end of June last year, she says her life has completely changed.
She saves a huge £120 a week which means Lisa and Andrew can now take the children away three or four times a year.
Andrew is also making an effort to quit, and has cut down from 40 cigarettes a day to 20.
Lisa also says she feels the health benefits. She walks a mile to Blackhall Primary School three times every day whereas in the past she used to take a bus.
“It has changed my life completely,” she added.
“I love Ebony to bits, if it wasn’t for her I know I would still be smoking now.”