A MOTHER and daughter are among one million smokers in the UK who have kicked the habit during lockdown.

More than 68,000 smokers in the East of England have used lockdown to quit smoking, according to charity, Action on Smoking and Health, which is a record high.

Mum and daughter duo Amanda Lansdowne, 51, and Maisie, 26, from Shoebury, are reaping the benefits of quitting smoking and want to encourage others to do the same.

Amanda told the Echo: “It has been tough but so worth it, and there is so much support available to keep you on track.

“I have smoked all my life so I never thought I could do it, especially during lockdown but when Maisie quit it gave me the boost to follow suit.

“We were both quite concerned when we learned that smokers would be more likely to struggle to fight off the virus if they were to get it and it was a bit of a wake up call.

“I’ve been wanting to do it for ages but always made excuses about it not being the right time but the pandemic that we are in really helped me to put things into perspective.”

Maisie had got in touch with her GP just before lockdown, who put her in touch with a stop smoking specialist advisor.

Maisie added: “It was so easy to do and it made such a difference having that support and seeing someone every week and getting that carbon monoxide reading and watching it go down on each visit. It gives you that encouragement to carry on.

“Then lockdown hit and I thought: ‘Oh no, I’m not going to be able to see anyone’, and the whole overwhelming feeling this pandemic brought made me so tempted to go down the shops and buy some cigs.

“So I rang my advisor who explained straight away that I could still get my prescriptions and continue the appointments on the phone.”

Maisie and Amanda were both prescribed Champix to quit smoking.

Maisie completed a 12-week course last month and mum, Amanda is following closely behind and has a few weeks left on her treatment plan.

Champix is a medication which works by reducing people’s craving for a cigarette. It also reduces the effects felt when you do have a cigarette. You set a date to stop smoking, and start taking tablets one or two weeks before this date.

Maisie added: “Stopping smoking is the best thing me and my mum have ever done. We both feel so much healthier and happier and better off financially.”

The Smokefree Southend Team provide free advice, support and information to any smoker who lives or works in the borough. There are 150 Level 2 stop smoking specialist advisors located within GP surgeries, participating pharmacies and one of the listed vape shops,Vaporever, in Leigh, and Vapour Central, in Westcliff.

You can still get support to quit during the pandemic over the phone.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness, causing cancer, heart and lung disease, and smokers who are hospitalised with Covid-19 are more likely to suffer severe outcomes than non-smokers.

For information on how to stop smoking visit Smokefree.com ash.org.uk.