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Smoking Cessation Series: Why I Stopped Smoking After 28 Years, by Sheri Waters

Posted Apr 09 2013 6:00am

This is the first guest blog post in our “Smoking Cessation Series,” which reveals personal stories of people who have successfully quit smoking, or who are currently trying to quit.

I am sharing my smoking cessation story with the hope that it will give others inspiration that quitting smoking is possible. I had been a smoker for 28 years, and decided to stop not for the normal health reasons, but because of the cost ($2.50 a pack at the time I quit) and, since I smoked inside my home, for the cleanliness of my home. In the back of my mind, the premature death of my father at age 61 from heart disease, must have been lurking on my mind also.

sheri waters

Sheri Waters

I had successfully quit while I was pregnant and after my first son was born for two years, but went back to smoking, so I knew it was possible to quit “the habit.” And what a habit I realized it was – every time I was on the phone, finished a meal, woke up in the morning, before I went to bed at night – I was even waking up and taking a smoke in the middle of the night. At the point I quit, I was a 2½ to 3 pack a day smoker.

My husband and I decided to quit at the same time and chose a quit date. I contacted my doctor who prescribed Zyban (not for everyone). You begin taking these while still smoking and it takes the urge away so that you don’t want to smoke anymore. You are to continue taking for a period of time even after you quit. Our quit date was March 8, 1999. We began taking the Zyban prior to the quit date. I didn’t continue with the Zyban too long after quitting as I kept forgetting to take the pill, so I figured I didn’t need them any longer (maybe a total of three weeks I took them).

When I woke up on March 8, 1999 there were no cigarettes, and that is the last that I smoked. I had participated in Smoking Cessation classes in the past and knew that you needed do other things instead of smoking at trigger points (coffee stirrers to keep your hands busy, munching on healthy snacks such as carrots and celery, gum, etc.) and to set goals and reward yourself regularly for success. I knew that a new outfit, going out to dinner, etc. was not “big” enough to entice me to succeed.

My husband and I always wanted to take a cruise, so I checked on what it would cost. We were spending well over $10 a day in cigarettes at that point. I knew that I could take a portion of that ($200 a month) and set it aside and do this trip (with today’s prices of $7 per pack, one person smoking 1 pack a day could save $210 a month). Within a month after our quit date we were succeeding at this, so I booked the cruise for December 5, 1999. We had 9 months to keep pooling the money. In December 1999 we flew to Tampa, Florida and we took that cruise as non-smokers. For those who know me – that was the beginning of a love affair of cruising and we will be embarking on our 14th cruise in September. We continue to put the $200 a month aside as our cruising funds.

Yes, you can quit!

- Written by Sheri Waters, Assistant to the President at Northwest Hospital

To schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and find out why LifeBridge Health is Baltimore's premiere health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.

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