Meet Our Inspirational People
Real stories from real people who have quit smoking.
I am a Pharmacist in the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy. I began smoking in college and smoked until the spring of 2000. I had seen recruitment ads for the UM smoking cessation program. Since I never had the self-discipline to stop on my own I decided to try it.
The hardest part for me was breaking behavior patterns like "a cup of coffee and a cigarette." I found that the solution was a matter of focus. To be honest, once in a while you’ll get a whiff of smoke that smells good, but count to ten. It goes away. Always think positive: you, your car, clothes, closet, and home will smell clean and fresh. I have used the count-to-ten technique often. And if you're into money things, I've been able to stash away an extra $3,000+ for a special vacation! Give your lungs and heart a break - QUIT SMOKING!
I started cigarettes at 16. I started trying to quit in 1966 because I was spending too much money on cigarettes. Since then, I've tried every way possible to quit, most twice or more. Finally, I went to the Stop Smoking clinic at UM at my new physician's suggestion. She sat me down and said "Now, how can I help you quit?" She seemed very concerned about ME.
One major reason the program worked was because the instructor admitted she had a relapse. There didn't seem excessive pressure to quit, and no indication that guilt would be dumped on us if we failed. What I like about being a non-smoker is the stunned looks on friends' and relatives' faces when they find out I don't smoke. Nobody thought I could do it (I didn't either.). I have been smoke-free for over six years.
I grew up in a family where my father smoked and my mother did not. Several other family members smoked also. When I was sixteen, smoking was considered cool and since I didn't fit in with any of the cliques I started smoking then. I can still remember it making me feel dizzy and coughing up a storm but eventually I got used to it. I also remember hiding it from my parents until I was over 18. Even after that I continued to smoke. I would try to quit every once in awhile but never made it a full day. I really thought I enjoyed it.
I was getting fed up with it and knew that I had to try and quit. I knew it wouldn't be easy but I was sick of the expense, the smell and how I felt. I joined a Freedom from Smoking class at the university. I went to the Dr. and asked for a prescription for Zyban since I knew I would need help. I also knew that if I needed to wan myself off anything I would probably not be able to do it. So the Zyban allowed me to quit cigarettes completely after the first week of taking it. When I first joined the program I was asked if I would do anything besides the Zyban (such as the gum or the patch) and I said I couldn't because I knew that for me it would be difficult if I didn't quit completely.
At the first meeting Linda explained that we would not quit that day but would set our quit day and prepare to quit. That was helpful to me since it prepared me to deal with the changes I would be making. One of the things that really helped me was writing down my 5 top reasons for wanting to quit. I still have that card and look at it occasionally even though right now I really have no desire to smoke. It was also helpful to be able to go through some of the feelings and other things we might experience while trying to quit. It just better prepared me for quitting. One of the things Linda explained after asking us questions was that some people will go back to smoking if they have one cigarette. Our entire group fell into that pattern. I already knew that so I've just stayed away. It wasn't completely easy since I live with my brother who to this day still smokes. I didn't have any trouble with that but I'd get around my other brother and I don’t know what it was but it bothered me for him to smoke around me. To this day I still tell him that I can be around other smokers but not him.
After smoking over 26 years I knew I wasn't happy. I will say that I did gain some weight after I quit, but I can't blame it completely on smoking. I'm happy to say I've lost the weight and still do not want to go back to smoking.
I know that several things contributed to my success in quitting. The program, my awareness, my top reasons for wanting to quit, and just my determination that I couldn’t let cigarettes rule my life anymore. I'm thankful that I was able to have the support of the Tobacco Consultation Service because without it, I might have fallen back before I got started.
I hope this helps just one person since I feel great and wouldn't have it any other way. I quit July 13, 1999 and I plan on staying smoke-free for the rest of my life.
I smoked cigarettes for 40 years. I was very resistant to the anti-tobacco movement when it started and felt “picked on.” As more places became NON-SMOKING, I trudged outside in the rain, heat, snow, wind and cold to have a cigarette. It started to dawn on me what a huge hassle it was to smoke.
I called the UM smoking cessation program and signed up for a class. I knew I needed a lot of help to quit. I needed the support of other people and the information about nicotine addiction that I got in the group. It has been seven years now and at times it still seems like a miracle that I can go through a whole day and not smoke. I am now able to make a choice that I was not able to make before - to NOT have a cigarette!
I have worked at the U of M in the Medical School since November 1981. I smoked about 25 years, around 2 packs a day. At 37 I had my first child. I was so addicted to cigarettes that I smoked through my pregnancy and then breastfeeding. I felt like I was killing my child.
I wanted to get pregnant again. The first thing they told my husband and me was that we should stop smoking to conceive. My husband and I set our quit date January 4, 1999. January 3, 3:00 a.m. I smoked my last cigarette.
I joined the UM smoking cessation program, which helped me a lot. And I did have another baby. I won't sugar coat it, it took about 18 months before I felt OK. Old habits die hard, but they do die. I am very glad that my two boys will have a better chance of being non-smokers because we quit.
For the last 20 years I was the cargo manager for KLM Airlines. And as time has past I became aware that my friends, relatives and colleagues had stopped smoking and I was one of the remaining few who still smoked. I looked in the mirror and asked myself the question "when am I going to stop smoking?" I decided that it was something that was long overdue. I looked for reasons to continue smoking and reasons to stop; I could find no reason to keep smoking and that time was now! I looked for help and was fortunate to find a support group at the U of M Health Center in April 2002. I was about to become a grandfather for the first time and had to be around to watch her grow up. There are still times when I would like to have a cigarette but that desire soon leaves because I know "the urge for a cigarette will go away whether you smoke a cigarette or not do smoke a cigarette!"
It started with a yearly visit to my doctor. Dr. Scott Furney just asked me to tell him about my smoking. He was the first doctor not to yell or lecture me. He just wanted to talk. I was then open to quitting. He started me on Zyban and signed me up for the smoking cessation class at UM.
Now at 54 years old I'm glad that I quit for myself. To do it for any other reason or for any one else is stupid. Other people could leave you or be taken away from you and then where would you be? Back to smoking? Do it for yourself.
And yes I would still like a smoke. And yes I am glad that I can have that urge and leave it as just an urge.
I worked at UM hospital for 25 years, and most of those years I was a smoker (35 years altogether). I had wanted and tried to quit many times. I saw a flyer in the hospital for the Kick the Habit program at the Tobacco Consultation Service and joined a group. It was difficult to quit as I did enjoy smoking, I went thru this program three times over the period of a year and a half. The third time did it because it has been over seven years since my last cigarette. I could not have done it without the support from my wife and kids. At the same time my wife was going through a weight loss program. Since we were both involved in challenging programs we were able to support each other. The group concept provided me with information and I learned new things to do instead of smoking. But most important I was around other people who were going through the same thing I was and it really helped.
I would like to thank my supervisor in the Material Services Department, Vicki Thompson, who supported me throughout the years as I tried to quit smoking. I also would like to thank Linda Thomas, coordinator of Tobacco Consultation Service, for her support and encouragement to get me through this process. Anyone who is considering quitting smoking, this program is one of the best I have attended. If I can quit, I know you can too!
I quit smoking in 2002 and I AM STILL SMOKE FREE. Prior to quitting, I had a spirometry (lung test). The results showed that I had severe obstruction. I couldn’t walk up a flight of steps without getting short of breath. I decided to take control of my life. I had to quit smoking.
I had tried many times to quit and failed, so I knew that I needed help. I called the Tobacco Consultation Service and started a group that week. I used the patch, the nicotine gum, the support of our leader, and our group.
I had another spirometry (lung test) eight months later that showed a mild obstruction - proof that smoking harms the body and quitting helps to heal. I feel better and breathe better - I can walk a flight of steps without any problem. I don't have to stand in freezing weather to have that cigarette. I can now stay inside with my grandchildren and enjoy breathing.
At age 47 it seemed impossible for me to quit smoking, even though I thought about quitting from the first cigarette of the morning to the last one in the pack at bedtime, and worried about my health if I continued. I had started smoking socially in college, and quickly become a pack-a-day user. Although I quit several times, for periods up to seven years, I always went back to cigarettes in times of stress or great change in my life. As I got older, it became harder to stop even for a few days. I lied about smoking and tried to hide relapses from my doctor and family. I hated the smell of smoke and would only do it outdoors. Every time I finished a pack I would tell myself, "That's it," but the cravings became so strong I would give in and rush to the store.
I stopped smoking on November 2nd, 2004. The reason I was able to break away from smoking, and stay away from smoking, is that I went through the program at UM Hospital. I enrolled, I attended every class, I listened to the information, I followed their advice about nicotine replacement (patches, gum, inhalers) and accepted the support the people there offered to me. It may sound like a simple formula. But it was powerful enough to break through the iron-fisted hold that cigarettes seemed to have on my life, and put ME in control.
And when I had a three-day relapse into smoking this year, I knew what to do to get back on track -- get some nicotine patches and gum, and make a list of why I was glad to be a nonsmoker, and why I would hate to be a smoker again. I am so proud of myself!
It's now been over 5 years since attending my Smoking Cessation Class in July 2004 and I'm proud to say I'm still SMOKE FREE!! Thanks to the wonderful program offered by UMHS Tobacco Consultation Service I've been able to cope and succeed in dealing with the addiction. I had my doubts at first, but it really worked! Now I can say I'm a successful ex-smoker and I enjoy my life more than ever before.
Linda Thomas is one of the leading authorities in developing smoke-free coping skills. Her "easy going" teaching style and vast experience with smokers trying to quit, makes her very powerful in helping each one overcome this serious addiction.
I work at UM in Brighton. I started smoking in High School. I quit when I got pregnant with my daughter (1998), and stayed quit. Then my world came crashing down when she passed away at 45 days old. I went into depression and started smoking almost immediately after her death.
I decided that I someday want to have more children and I wanted to be healthy again, so when I heard about the smoking cessation class through UM, I thought, "why not?" I went to the first class and was fearful. I was afraid of failing again after telling my family that I was quitting for the 100th time. But when I got there and Linda started to explain some things, my fears were gone and I was sure this time it would work. I love being able to say, "My house is a non-smoking house, go outside."
I have been a cigarette smoker over 30 years, I was a 2 1/2 pack a day smoker.
I would like to thank the UMHS Tobacco Consultation Service for helping me quit! Linda has helped me overcome this addiction. As I attended the 7 week program I was able to stop smoking within the second class.
I feel better and have more energy! I would recommend ALL smokers to attend this quit smoking program! I can't believe it myself... I QUIT!
I am an employee at UMHS and took part in the smoking cessation program shortly after it began in 1998. October 5, 1998 was the last time I smoked. I started to experiment with smoking as a teenager. Neither of my parents were smokers, but most of my extended family were. I was influenced by friends and cousins. At first my smoking was very sporadic. After high school, it became more regular. Over the next many years I would alternate between daily and social smoking habits. I did not smoke at all during my two pregnancies. Yet, eventually returned to the habit afterward.
Reasons to quit were many, my children being the primary inspiration. Once I could no longer hide it from them and my youngest began to imitate smoking behavior, I knew I had to do something. It has been ten years now, and I am so glad that I quit. Probably the best tool this class provided me was recognizing what kind of smoker I was. Actually analyzing why I smoked, and hearing yet again just how unhealthy it is...helped too. I realized that I would never intentionally consider breathing in car exhaust fumes, so why would I choose to inhale toxic smoke...?
Since that day in October '98, there have been many times I wanted to smoke, but have not. I am very committed to staying a non-smoker. Utilizing some of the techniques I learned through the class, and others I came up with on my own have helped. If you are contemplating this change, I wish you well. Being smoke free is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
The hardest times for me were in the morning when I had a cup of coffee. So I quit drinking coffee. Or, when I would drive somewhere smoking. I changed my regular route. Or, when I would go to a smoke-filled bar. So, for now, I don't go.
I quit because it costs so much, and when you live on limited income, it's too hard. You choose between what you enjoy, and what you are addicted to! I just got my curio cabinet I had been wanting. Also, for my health. And another good reason to quit is to think of the second hand smoke and that may be hurting those little ones you love.
So, all in all, I had every reason to quit, and only one not to - ADDICTION! Thanks for the help, and for saving me from hurtful behaviors.
Here I am, over seven years later and still 100% smoke free...I never went back and couldn't be happier!! I am now the married mother of two beautiful little girls…life is good. Two years ago, I had to have emergency heart surgery to replace my valve. The surgery saved my life, I was literally hours from death, according to the surgeon. He said the fact that I wasn't a smoker helped a lot in that my heart was healthy. Thank God for that. One of my 'dreams' when I first quit was to someday hear someone say ‘man, I can’t picture YOU as a smoker'... my dream came true someone actually said that to me. I love the sound of that! It was such a part of who I was way back then…I’m glad to be free of it.
Don't quit QUITTING!!
I started smoking at a late age 25, don't ask me why, I don't remember! When I got married in 1978 my bride said I had to smoke outside. That was cool until Wyoming winter kicked in! I had been seeing ads on TV for smokeless tobacco and thought "Hey these guys are sports heroes it must be ok." So I took up Skoal to quit smoking. It was great as they said" just a pinch between your cheek and gums, it is mighty relaxing" What they didn’t say was “mighty addictive!” I used perhaps a tin every 4 days. Our first child was born in 1983. Our son was born in 1991. When he started kindergarten, he was bombarded with tobacco and drug information. He told his teacher that his dad was a drug addict! When I heard this from him, I went to the school to assure them it was nicotine I was addicted to not anything illegal! He then started throwing away my Skoal whenever he saw it out. God bless him he was just worried about his dad! But the stuff had me so hooked even with my son trying his hardest to get me to quit I could not.
In 2003, my wife emailed an announcement about a quit smoking class and I should call and find out if I qualified for it. Thankfully I did! The sessions were great. We all set a date to give up tobacco; if I remember correctly, it was a Monday. On the Friday before I used up my Skoal and rather than buy a new one and have to throw away an almost full tin I waited that day. I bought some Nicorette gum and chewed that instead. The sessions after we all quit really really helped make it easier to give it up. We all talked about our successes and problems we had. Linda Thomas is a fantastic caring person and really cares about you. She is there every step of the way during the sessions and is available after the program is over. Heck I still talk to her and it has been ALMOST 3 YEARS since I quit. I highly recommend the program because it has made a BIG difference in my life and I know it can in yours!
I started smoking in my first year of college, and today I have one comment for that; Smoking was the dumbest thing I ever did! I wasn't ready to quit until I was an older adult. I didn't quit any earlier because I really enjoyed smoking. I didn't quit because of health reasons, but sooner or later health problems will get you if you continue to smoke. I visited my doctor for an annual exam, and he asked me about my smoking habit, he told me about a great tobacco treatment program at the Turner Senior Resource Center on Plymouth Road. He encouraged me to find out about this program, in hopes I would quit smoking.
I made that call and joined the Turner senior tobacco treatment group in March 2002. That was the beginning of my success, I really enjoyed the group! The members of the group are fun - I have made some very good friends. Linda Thomas and the other facilitators are very informative and supportive! I NEVER dreamed I could quit, but I did! I have been smoke-free since April 2002. The Turner Senior Resource Center offers a support group that meets two times a month, this group is very helpful and everyone in the group is supportive to each other. If someone slips nobody makes a big deal about it, they just help each other through the relapse and get back on track. Since I quit, I have never craved cigarettes, I keep on track with the support of the leaders and friends.
I started smoking when I was 22 years old and continued for over 30 years. I averaged a pack a day for most of my smoking past. I always wanted to quit and tried many attempts, but there always seemed to be some stressful events occurring in my life. Therefore, I reasoned with myself that I would quit when things "slowed down" and life was less complicated. As I found out, the world will not slow down for you. I finally came to the decision to quit after I experienced some smoking related health problems. October 6, 2004 was the last time that I smoked and I am positive that I will not smoke again!
It is a relief not to be chained to smoking. My health is better and every time I see the price of cigarettes it feels great to know I am not giving my money to the cigarette companies. I am proud and my family is proud that I am not a smoker anymore.
I started smoking 56 years ago when I joined the Navy. I smoked three packs a day when I finally decided it was time to give it up. My wife and I made a deal, if I quit smoking, she would join Weight Watchers. We have both accomplished our goals, I quit smoking and she has lost 70 pounds! We are supportive of each other. It has been a struggle for me, and it took a couple attempts, but I finally gave it up...FOR GOOD! I just remembered what I learned in group NEVER quit quitting.
It takes much determination and effort to quit, you have to WANT to do it and be totally committed to quitting. I could have never done it without the help and support that I received from Tobacco Consultation Service and Turner Senior Resource Center smoking cessation class. I still attend the support group that meets twice a month. This helps keep me on track.
I am 68 years old and am now a non-smoker just like my peers! My grandkids are so happy to see Grandpa not smoking any longer. I now am saving $15 a day, $105 a week, and $450.00 a month!!
If you smoke, and have tried to quit...just keep trying! It took me three tries but I did it and feel great, YOU CAN TOO!!
I’ve quit smoking 5 or 6 times that I can remember. I was in Linda's smoking cessation class in July of 2000 and I stayed quit for six months. Then I quit again in March of 2004 and I've stayed quit now for over four years. I used to live in Ann Arbor, I got married in September of 2003 and moved to Taylor Michigan. So I drove to the U of M Medical Center for the class and this gave me more of an incentive to try to stay quit.
In addition, I used the computer websites, www.quitnet.com it's a good one. I was the only smoker in my family and my parents, my sister, her husband and her two kids gave me grief about smoking for many years. My husband has recently quit and I am so proud of him. He was going outside to smoke since I quit.
Just keep trying if you have a slip, it's really worth the effort. The U of M Tobacco Consultation Service class is great. I learned so much.
On December 8, 2004, I decided to give myself an early Christmas present. After 40 years of smoking, I chose to become an ex-smoker. My incentive was that I wanted to be able to sing again and do other physical activities without being so short of breath. I also suffer from both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, both of which are affected adversely by smoking. It wasn't easy, but I was determined to quit this time. I was allergic to the adhesive on the nicoderm patches and broke out in a rash all over my body, so if I was to stop smoking, I would have to do it without the patch. Using Zyban and nicorette gum worked along with some willpower on my part. My husband (who quit 30+ years ago) along with my children and friends are all very proud of me. Now when I get an urge to smoke, I just take a deep breath and realize that is why I quit!
The recent removal of my left lower lung was the final catalyst to make me quit smoking! I had been “seriously” trying to stop this debilitating habit "off and on" for the previous year. I attended two smoking cessation programs through the U of M and still attend the support groups through the Turner Senior Resource Center. I used 21mg patches and the Nicotrol Inhaler to help me quit. The diagnosis of my lung cancer was made on Christmas Eve after X-rays and a C.A.T scan had confirmed my doctor's suspicions. Christmas Day was my unexpected QUIT DAY! I am now a NON-SMOKER and CANCER FREE!!
I started off smoking before I was ten years old. I picked up the habit because of peer pressure, rebellion, and being uninformed. At that time in my life I was not aware of the damaging effects smoking has on your body. As the effects of smoking become apparent, it makes me wonder why the new generation is choosing to smoke. The saying, "Garbage In-Garbage Out" epitomizes what I have learned happens to your body after you smoke. I hope that the new generation does not give in to the pressures of smoking.
With the help of the Turner Center I can proudly say that I have been an ex smoker since 2001. When I have urges to smoke, I am inspired by the pureness of a newborn baby. I think that we can learn from children by watching them breath, play, and eat. As adults that smoke, we are depriving ourselves of the secret ingredient that heals: oxygen. I remind myself that I do not need smoking; it is a habit that is very unnatural and unhealthy. The Tobacco Consultation Service offered me the support and information that I needed to remain smoke-free.
My first experience with the cessation program was 7 years ago. After successfully completing the program and going smoke free for 2 years I was triggered by a death in the family and started smoking again.
After smoking for almost 2 years I re-enlisted in the program and am glad to say I've been smokeless for over two years now.
Shortly after quitting again I had another death in the family and am proud to say I weathered the event smokeless.
The people in the program are the best and I'm thankful that they have been able to help me. Special thanks to Linda for the time she has spent with me.
I started smoking at the age of 18, but really hit my stride at 25 smoking a pack a day. I am an artist and illustrator. Smoking has been a very important ally in my creative process. It's almost as though I couldn't paint without a cigarette. Although I have tried to quit many times over the years, I have tried different programs. I was very desperate and needed to quit by the time I came to the University of Michigan Health System. I couldn't have imagined what a fabulous program they offered and it was right down the street!
No other program was as thorough as Tobacco Consultation Service; the facilitator was so knowledgeable about every single component of nicotine addiction. I have never used Nicotine Replacement Therapy and this program taught me to use them correctly so that I was free to focus on my behavior and beliefs. I was able to understand the hold my addiction had on me.
I went through the program twice and I have gone back for a refresher. It was great to know that there was support for me at every step of my personal struggle.
I quit October 3, 2004. Today, I truly feel free from my addiction to cigarettes, and I give half credit to myself and the other half to the UMHS Tobacco Consultation Service.
I am writing to let you know how disgusted I am with you. I thought you were my friend, we spent a lot of time together - happy and sad - but now I realize that you were never my friend and you were just using me for my money while hurting me and my family the entire time. You have tried to destroy me and now I am saying ENOUGH! I don't need you anymore, and I don't want you around! I don't want you smelling up my home, staining my teeth, destroying my health and that of my family, and I'm not going to allow it any more. You had taken over my life and for a while were the ruler - but there is a new ruler now, and I've asked for his help in getting rid of you. He agreed. His exact words to me were, "Teresa, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you." I was a little fearful that I wouldn't be able to get along without you, but honestly, I will not be able to live a full life if I keep you in it—so you have to go. I am not afraid of you anymore! You do not rule my life anymore! You cannot control me anymore! Good riddance! If I happen to think of you, I will immediately think how awful you have been to me. Two songs keep coming to mind; "I will Survive," and "Good-bye to YOU!"
I began smoking when I was in college and never had the desire to quit. Every time I went to my physician with a cold or sinus infection, he would always listen to my lungs and say everything sounded clear. So why should I stop smoking if my lungs sounded clear? If my lungs sound clear I must not have lung cancer so no reason to stop smoking. It didn't matter to me that I was coughing, having multiple sinus infections, wheezing and difficulty breathing, as long as my lungs sounded clear I would live forever.
My maternal and paternal grandparents all died of heart disease. Both of my parents died because of heart complications. I had a brother, who at the age of 37, died of a massive heart attack and yet I continued to smoke. I had a son diagnosed with asthma as a child and still continued to smoke. I always made excuses for smoking. I didn't buy fancy cars, go on expensive trips or buy expensive clothes so it was okay for me to spend the money on cigarettes. I vowed I would never quit because I actually enjoyed smoking and thought of it as a stress reliever.
Then one day I had a very strong desire to quit. I hated the smell in my condo and in my car. I hated the smell of my clothes and my hair. I was embarrassed taking cigarette breaks at work, sitting in the smoking section of restaurants, having people see me smoking in my car and having to constantly spray myself with fragrances and popping mints into my mouth. I knew it had to stop. I met with Linda from the Tobacco Consultation Service and knew immediately I would soon be a non-smoker. I thought I would dread the day before my quit date but I was actually excited. I would have never believed it was this easy. I thought I would be on Chantix forever but have only had the medication refilled once and no longer have the desire to smoke. I am elated being a non-smoker. I am so proud of becoming a non-smoker. Most important, my sons are proud of me for becoming a non-smoker. If I can do it, anyone can do it.
I smoked for 52 years of my life and the best thing I did for my health was to quit! Over two years ago I was seeing a cardiologist and every time I visited, I was encouraged to take a brochure about quitting. I thought about it, but not real hard and didn't do anything to change. I tried many times to quit on my own but nothing worked successfully. Finally, one day I thought I really need to give this another try. I called the number on the brochure and joined the next tobacco treatment program for seniors that started in January 2007 at the Turner Senior Resource Center.
I quit smoking because of this group with the support from the facilitators and the friends I have made. I still attend the support groups that are held at the Turner Center twice a month, it is very interesting to see everyone and hear what they all have to say. I never realized how my car and clothes smelled from cigarettes, I bought a new car since I quit and have enjoyed the fresh scent instead of stale cigarette smell. I have been quit since February 2007 and intend to stay that way!
I never thought I'd be able to live without cigarettes. They went with me everywhere, I always made allowances for them, and if I couldn't "be" with them at a certain event or location I would avoid it altogether. I never realized how I smelled, how I must have tasted to kiss, and how much money I was spending. After making a firm decision to change, I sought help, took one day at a time and believed this was the only way to love myself. I can do all the things in my life that I desire, but as long as I was inflicting harm on myself, I knew it wasn't sincere. Now I am outdoors playing sports, exercising, enjoying activities I avoided before and breathing clearly like never before. My doctor told me this summer that I am growing out of my asthma after 15 years of inhalers and suffering! I am so happy I made this decision; I can enjoy food, being active, save money, and feel like I am bettering my life and my health. It has been nine months and I will never go back!
I had been wanting to quit for years, to stop coughing, and to be more comfortable in any place, or with anyone.
I decided to participate in a quit smoking group. I had no idea how or if I would get the courage to actually stop smoking, and I dreaded going to the first meeting. The group ended up being great, the leader chose a quit date for us, and I decided to capitalize on the rare opportunity. I took all the advice seriously, and was truly amazed at how well I was able to handle the challenge. The first day was really rough, but I had so many strategies pre-planned for that. Now I've been smoke-free for six months.
I no longer worry about when my next break is, how long a flight is, or whether I'm going to be stuck with non-smokers. Life is a lot more fun now.
I had been a heavy smoker for 25 years. The mere thought of quitting would transform me into a sniveling, shaking, panic stricken shell of a man! There was no way I could even attempt to quit. Besides, “I enjoyed smoking and it really hadn’t caused any ill effects to this point”. Yeah right! I could justify it in a million different ways, but deep down I knew I was killing myself. Still, I was just too weak to quit. In my earliest attempts at testing the water to see if I could make a single hour-long drive from work without a cigarette, I would generally cave after about 15 minutes. I honestly believed that there was nothing I could do. It was impossible for me to quit, and in all likelihood I would die with a cigarette in my mouth.
Things were about to change. I was working at the University of Michigan and had enrolled in the smoking cessation program run by Linda Thomas. Obviously, I was a bit skeptical at first. The content she offered was beyond informative and motivational. The program armed me with all the knowledge I needed, and the confidence to believe that I could quit. It separated out the physical from the psychological aspects. Nothing was sugar coated. Even though it would be difficult, I knew exactly what to expect, and exactly what I needed to do to achieve my goal. Back then it was kind of like I was lost in the woods. Linda gave me a compass and convinced me that if I kept walking north, that I would reach my destination. I had to want to get there and surely would encounter obstacles, but if I stayed on the path with dedication and perseverance; I could get there one day!
Quit day for me was June 28, 1999. I walked up to the entrance of U of M hospital smoking a cigarette. I exhaled the last drag as I walked through the hospital doors. That was my last drag of a cigarette – ever! In June of 2009, I celebrated my 10 year anniversary as an ex smoker. I haven’t thought about cigarettes in what seems like an eternity. I don’t miss them at all, and I am never even tempted to pick one up. If I had not enrolled in the smoking cessation program, I honestly would have never been able to say this. I feel incredible, and will forever be grateful to Linda for the wonderful program that she runs.
I work in the Pathology Department in the Hematology, Coagulation, Flow Cytometry, and Bone Marrow labs. I come from a family where both parents smoked and from the generation where TV commercials would show a pregnant woman with a Lucky Strike in one hand and a glass of wine in the other telling everyone to "relax at the end of a long day. Remember LSMFT: Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco". So while people get bombarded with anti-smoking advertising today, it wasn't always that way. I dabbled with smoking as a teen, but really began to regularly smoke as a freshman in college. It was still the thing to do and the stress helped to push a lot of us toward smoking. Unfortunately, it was also about this time that the scientific community really began to discover the many hazards of smoking. But it was too late. I was definitely addicted both physically and psychologically. I married a smoker and spent almost forty years and too much money to even want to think about with cigarettes. We were definitely hooked at the hip or should I say lip. I couldn't go anywhere without making sure I had plenty of cigarettes to go with me. Morning coffee...cigarettes. Driving to work...cigarettes. Work break...cigarettes. Lunch... cigarettes. Afternoon break...cigarettes. Driving home...cigarettes. And once home, there was always a cigarette with me. Don't get me wrong. I had tried to quit several times cold turkey, using patches and using hypnosis. But I really enjoyed smoking. I liked the taste and feel of cigarettes. I really didn't want to stop. Then in January 2010, I experienced what they call a cardiac event. I had classic chest tightening travelling up into my jaw that did not go away. Let me tell you, that was a scary trip to the ER. Well to make a long story short, a stent ended up correcting an 80% blockage that caused the symptoms. At my follow up with the cardiologist, the thing that he could not stress enough, was to quit smoking. He said if I did nothing else for myself, quitting smoking would be the most important thing I could do for my health. Then I also found out that I was going to be a Grandma for the first time!! That was what I needed to set me on my path to quitting. I got a referral to the Tobacco consultation program and was scheduled for one on one counseling with Linda Thomas.
I have to admit that I expected to receive the classic lectures and guilt producing talks I had heard for years. Well, SURPRISE! Linda was actually interested in ME. We did talk about smoking and not smoking, but we began with focusing on my general health and welfare and looking at things I needed to do before I quit smoking to aid in my success. We talked about drinking water, and eating fruits and vegetables, and exercise and the fight or flight response to get the whole focus shifted to prepare myself for quitting and things I could do to help me. Finally we looked at the calendar for a quit date. Linda wanted to make sure that I would not encounter any particularly tempting situations for a while after my quit date and so finally I was ready. I am happy to say that my quit date was March 23, 2010 and cigarettes and I are no longer friends. I have been very successful so far and really think I will remain so thanks to Linda and her interest in my welfare. She continues to follow up with me to be sure I'm doing OK and encourages me to contact her if I have any questions or issues. Thank you Linda for all you have done to make and keep me a non-smoker!!
I would just like to say to anyone reading this who would like to become a non-smoker, give the Tobacco Consultation Program a try. There are lots of counseling options available that include groups and individual time. I really did not think that I would be able to quit ever. I guess you never know when the time is right for your life to change and now just might be your time! Good luck and I wish all of you smokers a successful journey to becoming a non-smoker.