JAMESTOWN – Those wishing to make a stop-smoking New Year’s resolution successful can look to Debby L. for inspiration.
With assistance from the New York State Smokers’ Quitline (Quitline), as well as yoga and meditation, Debby began a smoke-free journey in January that continues to this day.
Like many former smokers, Debby, now 49, tried cigarettes as a teenager and became addicted for nearly 30 years.
She had once quit for four years in the late 1990s but started again due to stress from the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
As each New Year passed, Debby thought more and more about trying to become smoke-free once again. A seminal moment just after New Year’s Day in 2019 resulted in action.
“I was at work and received a phone call from my mother that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer,” Debby explained. “I exited the office and took my usual ‘smoke-break walk.’ Once I arrived at a nearby coffee shop, I thought about everything that was happening and decided to call the Quitline right there in the lobby.”
The Quitline’s Quit Coaches assisted Debby to develop a customized quit-plan and shipped her a starter kit with nicotine patches and literature.
Through the Quitline’s recommendation, Debby reached out to her health insurance provider and learned she was covered for additional medication through her plan.
“I received so much support, and there was great follow-up,” Debby said. “In past years, I had tried to quit through different methods. This was my first time trying the nicotine patch, and the product really worked for me. Having a quit-plan was so important and helped me feel like I was being held accountable.”
Fortunately, Debby’s mother recently became cancer-free.
The good news reaffirmed Debby’s desire to not only live smoke-free but also eat healthy and stay fit. She now engages in routine yoga and meditation as a means to relieve stress and enjoy easier breathing.
“I was always into fitness and eating well. I enjoyed helping others develop the same healthy practices and yet they didn’t know I smoked,” Debby said. “I felt ashamed and like a hypocrite. Now I don’t have to hide anything. I smell better, feel healthier and have more control over my life. Another bonus is I’m saving thousands of dollars.”
Debby recommends all smokers call the Quitline and take the quit-plan development process seriously.
“Set your quit-date and really think through how you’ll handle triggers,” she advised. “Learn to breathe deeply when you’re stressed – the inhale will feel more and more wonderful as your lungs get cleaner. The bottom line: ask for help; don’t wait.”
This New Year and any year, in addition to support from a healthcare professional, tobacco users can call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) anytime the journey gets tough for achieving or maintaining a tobacco-free life. In addition, as recently announced by the New York State Department of Health, the Quitline now offers expanded services to help e-cigarette users quit vaping.
Coaching support at the Quitline is available for New Yorkers of all ages, including adolescents, seven days a week beginning at 9 a.m. Additional resources are available online at www.nysmokefree.com.