Life Begins at 65

They say that life begins at 40, but for John Osborne, living took on a whole new meaning on his 65th birthday when he signed up for the NicoBloc 'Stop Smoking' Programme and stopped smoking for good.

In 1945 when John began smoking aged 14, few people knew the dangers of cigarettes. Smoking was considered then as an escape from life, a means to ease one's burdens, and a socially acceptable pastime. It was something everyone seemed to do.

"In 1953 I joined the RAF and went to the Middle East and we all smoked because it was the only luxury we had. Throughout my twenties, a 'smoke' at work every couple of hours was the norm. I was smoking 35-a-day and as I got older I felt breathless, out of condition, and generally unhealthy. And then I began worrying about heart disease and cancer," said John.

"My frequent attempts to stop smoking were unsuccessful. I'd used everything from filters, nicotine gum and even going cold turkey with willpower. You name it, I've tried it," he added.

Some years later in 1999, John responded to an advert his local paper for a six-week smoking cessation programme that used a product called 'NicoBloc' to help smokers gradually reduce their nicotine intake and eventually break the habit.

The chap who ran the programme owned a fitness club in Yeovil and even though I was skeptical about trying yet another 'gimmick', he motivated me to get started," said John.

"I applied drops of NicoBloc to the filter of my cigarettes to block almost all the tar and nicotine from entering my body. The idea was to gradually ease myself off cigarettes, but the best thing about it was that I could keep smoking, and there was no change to the taste! Also, it became a bit more of a 'chore' to get through 35-a-day! The action of applying NicoBloc to each cigarette before I smoked helped break the pack-to-mouth routine and I cut down on the number of cigarettes I was smoking each week until I was down to one or two a day," said John.

"After six weeks on the programme I stopped smoking and I haven't had a cigarette since, nor have I craved the nicotine, even when I'm at the pub for my weekly game of darts with the lads. Ridding cigarettes certainly changed my lifestyle. I altered my eating habits and now consume a healthier diet. I joined the gym in Yeovil and started exercising regularly and soon noticed the tightness in my chest had eased and I could breathe more easily. I felt really good within myself and I used the money I saved to buy CDs and books and presents for the grand kids.

"I still head to the pub for a drink without feeling the urge or desire to smoke - and I can throw the darts a lot further these days too!"