Proud to be smoke-free!

November 21, 2019

Many people who smoke want to quit and have tried to stop multiple times. On average, it takes smokers four to six tries before they are finally smok- free. One such individual is a Facilities tradesperson who works on central campus. He started experimenting with cigarettes around the age of 11 but became a regular smoker after joining the U.S. Marine Corps. “Honestly, it started out of boredom,” he says. “After boot camp, you suddenly have all this freedom, and it was a way to pass the time. Unfortunately, as a result, I became a regular smoker.”

He smoked for the next 25 years, trying three times to quit. At one point, he didn’t smoke for over a year. During those years, he tried different smoking cessation methods from the nicotine patch to Chantix. These methods worked by getting him to stop initially, but something would happen and the cravings would return. “The first time I tried Chantix it worked great,” he recalls. “But I fell off the wagon. The second time I tried using it, it was not as effective.”

This past spring, he was inspired to quit for a few reasons: “I didn’t like being under the thumb of my habit; it controls your life—that bothered me.” In addition to the smell and cost, he wanted to stay healthy and care for his son, who has special needs. “I want to be around for my son, and I didn’t want to have an oxygen tank strapped to my shoulder while being there for him.” He was also inspired by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) videos featuring tips from former smokers.

Currently, this staff member has been smoke-free for six months, thanks to help from a TrestleTree health coach, a resource he learned about through Yale Health’s free smoking cessation resources. The coach worked with him by providing a free prescription for Wellbutrin, nicotine patches, and regular phone calls to find out how he was doing. Now, determined not to start up again, he is waiting for the one-year mark: “I quit for 13 months a few years ago, once I hit that milestone this time, I’ll know I’m free.”

For those who want to quit, he offers some advice: “Don’t give up. I know that is a cliché, but you can do it. Having a cigarette is not worth the horrible health consequences. It doesn’t make you cool. It’s hard to stop, but focus on why you want to be around and be healthy, and that will inspire you to keep going. It’s important to be around for the people who love you.”