Like most smokers, I've had several attempts at quitting over the years.
Some have been more successful than others. On one occasion I managed a few weeks. Usually, it's several days.
But one thing is always the same - I come unstuck when I'm out having a drink.
However, my most recent effort to ditch the cigs has been different.
I've now gone 34 days without lighting up. And I've enjoyed several nights out during that time - including my own birthday.
I signed up to the HoldMyLight campaign to see if it could help me where I've stumbled in the past.
And I'm happy to say that it seems to be working. The approach is simple.
You choose a friend or family member to be your supporter, and they offer a reward if you stick to your pledge to go smoke-free for 30 days.
I asked my twin brother, because we're always together on a night out and I thought he'd be able to keep me on track in those moments when I was most tempted to light up. In fact, we both took part in the challenge.
I offered to get him a ticket to watch Liverpool play, and he offered to pay for a fancy dinner if we both completed the challenge.
Of course, the reward was a good incentive. But the main help for me was having someone around to encourage me in those moments of weakness.
And the longer the campaign went on, the easier I found it. Once I knew I could go out and not have a cigarette, it wasn't so hard.
Because I had also signed up to the Hold My Light website, I got regular reminders of how many days I'd completed. As the number went higher, I became more determined to reach the end.
I'm pleased to say I upheld my end of the bargain and got my brother a ticket for Liverpool.
I'm still waiting for my prize, but I'm sure it won't be long coming!
'Hold My Light was just the motivation my boys needed', says Simon and Chris's dad (and ex-smoker) Mike
I am so delighted that Simon and Chris took up the challenge of Hold My Light.
They have both have tried and failed to give up several times over the last few years, but knowing how competitive they are, this was obviously just the motivation they needed!
And I can certainly assure anyone that once you get through that initial 30 days, the craving will be greatly reduced.
As a former 30-a-day smoker I know only too well how difficult it is to kick the habit.
I can still clearly remember the exact date forty-one years ago when I took my last puff.
Like so many others wanting to quit, I had tried and failed many times to make the break, one New Year’s resolution after another ending after a few days or weeks due to the inability to relax and fully enjoy social situations without a cigarette in my hand.
In the end, what really steeled my resolve was the incentive provided, five years before Simon and Chris were born, by their mum.
Having already quit herself, she challenged me to do the same. And that was it. I had just returned from a business trip aboard with a duty-free carton of 200 of my preferred brand.
I promptly gave them all away to a colleague and since that day – January 16th, 1977 to be precise – I have literally never so much as touched a cigarette.