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At 102 Years Old, Birthday Girl Finally Stops Smoking

Update Date: Feb 19, 2013 11:52 AM EST

Birthday girl Clara Cowell has proved that it's never too late to change bad habits. At 102 years old, she finally quit smoking after picking up the habit in 1931. She did not even quit smoking because of her health - she finally stopped the habit because her family was worried that falling ash would set her house on fire.

According to the Daily Mail, Ms. Cowell has smoked two to three cigarettes a day since picking up the habit - amounting to about 60,000 cigarettes in her lifetime. But the centenarian finally quit at the urges of her family, who worried about the safety of her habit.

Ms. Cowell lives independently. Her daughters say that the secret to her success may be rooted in hard work and poverty, but also something more surprising: her cigarettes and her daily habit of a cup of tea with whiskey.

Indeed, Ms. Cowell's life has been rather tough. When her husband, a coal worker, was called in to fight during World War II, Ms. Cowell tasked herself with raising their four children by herself and working in an ammunition factory. A tailoress by trade, Ms. Cowell sewed parachutes. She says that, like many of the other girls, she took some silk for herself to sew some underwear. She says that the war was hard, that there was never enough to eat or time to sleep, but they did not suffer from the experience.

Ms. Cowell suffered from tuberculosis as a child, but does not believe in medication. At her age, she is now so sprightly that she wowed crowds at her 101st birthday as she performed a waltz. She says that she used to love to dance when she was young, particularly the waltz and the foxtrot.

Ms. Cowell appears to still have quite a bit of life left. Her daughters reported that they spent her birthday at a pub.

In addition to her four children, Ms. Cowell has nine grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

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