Marilyn Hancock


My name is Marilyn; I have been smoking for around 50 years. I started smoking at age 20. I was a dancer, going to auditions in London and all over the world. Each time I went,  I met other dancers; they were smokers and always offered me a cigarette. Eventually, I bought a packet, as I thought I couldn’t keep taking it and not giving it. It has been a very long time since I purchased patches and a vape, and I ended up using the patches and the vape and smoking with the patch in situ. This made me feel sick. However, I knew this would take the sickness away because I was a dancer and did breathing exercises, jumping about and drinking lots of water. However, I soon returned to smoking, not having quit.

It didn’t bother me to try and stop until now. I retired about a year ago and had a successful dancing business, so I didn’t suffer any smoking-related illnesses. I suppose with me being fit, active and a ballerina. I am in good health.

My Husband is 73, a non-smoker, and I’m 70. I want to prolong my life. I used to carry a tin round with me and put cigarette butts in it. I looked in there, thinking I’d only had a few, and saw many. I was horrified when I emptied it. I’d buy a new dress, and the hot ash would burn tiny holes in them. I spent half my life cleaning my teeth, so they didn’t go brown. The ashtrays used to be packed in my car.

I was constantly looking at my watch when teaching young children. I used to go and hide out of the way after a class to have a cigarette. I felt like a naughty child, hiding. Sometimes, I’d nip in the toilets for a cigarette. The caretaker would come to me and say, “ Miss Marilyn, someone has been smoking in the toilets.” It was me. I felt so guilty.

My Husband said to me ( Which he’s never said before), “ If you care for me, you won’t carry on with this”. It stuck in my head.

I rang Yorkshire SmokeFree and embarked on my journey of quitting. I cannot thank the advisor enough; she has talked me through every week, motivating me, along with all the text messages I received and the words I recalled after the appointment. I didn’t think I could stop for a week, let alone a month, and here I am.

I used to spend £13.50 a day on Benson and Hedges, though mostly I would bring them back from abroad. I have 200 cigarettes upstairs; my stepdaughter brought them back from Paris. I have never even been tempted to have one. I am going to get rid of them.

I Would Say, DON’T START, then you don’t have to STOP.

It was the worst thing I ever did: start smoking. It takes all your money. It dominates your life.

Smokers are Liars; they say I’ve only had so many when they have had double or triple the amount they say.

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