An iron-lunged pensioner has celebrated her 100th birthday by lighting up her 170,000th cigerette from a candle on her birthday cake. Winnie Langley started smoking only days after the First World War broke out in June 1914 when she was just seven-years-old – and has got through five a day ever since.
She has no intention of quitting, even after the nationwide ban forced tobacco-lovers outside.
Speaking at her 100th birthday party Winnie said: “I have smoked ever since infant school and I have never thought about quitting.
“There were not all the the health warnings like there are today when I started. It was the done thing.”
Winnie, from Croydon, South London, claims tobacco has never made her ill.
She has outlived a husband, Robert, and son, Donald, who died two years ago aged 72.
The former launderette worker said she started the habit in 1914 – just weeks after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28 – which sparked the First World War.
The 100-year-old, who is awaiting her telegram from the Queen today, said smoking helped calm her nerves during the two World Wars.
She said: “A lot of people smoked during the war. It helped steady the nerves.”