Tobacco Cessation Class Success Stories

Brian and Kerri Pridemore

Smoke free since September 2012

Image of Brian and Kerri PridemoreAs I write this, I have been smoke free for eight weeks. Personally, it’s one of the greatest successes of my life. I had wanted to quit smoking for a while, but I felt it would be too difficult if my wife, Kerri, still smoked. In August of this year, we talked about attending the Scott & White Enuff of the Puff program and decided to quit smoking together.

I had been a smoker for about 16 years, and my wife Kerri had smoked for about 15 years. Smoking is an expensive habit, and, at a rate of about a pack a day, we were spending around $7,000 per year. We also have two teenage daughters who were embarrassed by our bad habit, and we knew how detrimental it was for our health. We both felt it was time to quit.

On our first day of the smoking cessation class we met Alex, the class instructor, and he advised us on all the different methods of quitting smoking. Kerri tried substituting with the E-cigarettes (she didn’t like it and just quit "cold turkey"), and I chose to use the medication Chantix. While attending the weekly classes, we discussed our plans for quitting. The program focuses your quitting efforts by identifying what triggers you to smoke. It also outlines your reasons for quitting in a framework that's easily referenced during those times you’re most tempted to smoke. The accountability and support of your classmates and the instructor are both key tools in the quitting process.

Even though it's only been eight weeks, there's already been a noticeable improvement in our health. My wife and I no longer get winded so easily, and our sense of smell and taste has improved. In addition, we’ve saved over $800 in the 8 weeks we have been smoke free. Our kids are happier, which thrills us both. Looking back on the program and the positive results I’ve experienced, my only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner. If you want to quit smoking or you’re thinking about quitting, please join the class and get started as soon as you can. You’ll be glad you did!

Patrick Callahan

Smoke free since June 2011

Image of Patrick Callahan

Next month will mark my 74th birthday. It will be a most special day due to the fact that the "birthday boy" will be tobacco free for the first birthday in many, many years.  In 2010, the Scott & White Wellness Center had an advertisement in the Temple Daily Telegram promoting its Tobacco Cessation Class. The class was to begin in late November and carry on through the first part of 2011. Out of six or seven people in the class, I was the only one to complete it. However, at the conclusion of the class, I had not yet "quit" smoking.

Over the years, nine numerous attempts to quit smoking had met with various results, but at the end of the day an addiction to tobacco remained solidly entrenched in my lifestyle. The use of the ever growing over-the-counter drugs to assist in "kicking the habit" had never been tried. I faced the hard realization that in order to successfully quit there would have to be a greater will to accomplish such an action – a stronger effort than I’d considered in a long while.

As these comments are being written, in exactly 40 days I will have succeeded in being tobacco free for one year! While I have in some ways helped myself through ongoing supplications to the Almighty, I have also had the solid support of my wife, Valerie (herself "tobacco free" for 4+ years), and Alex [Hainzinger, Wellness Program Specialist].

Be advised that the urge to smoke comes back in many times, places and situations; so many that these are far too numerous and strange to itemize here. One must be constantly "on guard" from here on out; the urge to have "only one" is a misnomer. Trying a cigar on that "special occasion" without inhaling is only fooling yourself. If you are in a cessation class now, you know that tobacco is an addiction; therefore, if you successfully "quit," you will most likely be tempted going forward – forever.

I smoked Lucky Strike cigarettes, which had increased in price to almost $8.00 per pack. Based on a one pack per day habit, that consumed almost $3,000 per year! Think about the alternative uses for that amount of money? Smoking is no longer a cheap vice.

Do not give up your efforts on trying to quit smoking. Every serious attempt could bring you closer to that most important decision. Personally, the efforts to give up tobacco began in July 2002, and I did not succeed until May 2011. However, I now know that every morning when I put on my "Tobacco Free" band I have made it through another day without addiction. That, my friend, is a great feeling.  My supplications and thanks to the Almighty and Alex’s ongoing support is what continue to make this victory a reality.

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