It’s that time of year, when people start to think about the things they want to change in the new year. For some people, they have a list of changes that they want to make. For others, they want to concentrate on one big change – something that will dramatically alter the way they live.
So what are some of those “life altering” changes? Maybe it’s working on healing a broken relationship, or joining a gym, or going from a two car family to a one car family. These are all major commitments that mean people must spend more of their time focused on top tier life values – the values that are truly meaningful… to themselves, and to those that they love.
If quitting smoking is one of your New Year’s resolutions, The NYS Smokers’ Quitline is here to help, with support, and medication from healthcare providers. The Quitline has sent along this inspirational success story, that features Tracy K. of Blasdell (pictured inset), who is celebrating 10 years of freedom from nicotine.
Tracy said quitting is one of the hardest things she ever accomplished but also something of which she’s proudest.
Tracy, now 55, started smoking because of the cool factor, and because her mother smoked, so she felt that it was OK. Over the years, she quite twice (when she was having kids), but ultimately started smoking again because a number of her friends smoked.
“Smoking is such a strong habit and it connects with the activities you do,” Tracy said. “Calling the New York State Smokers’ Quitline, hearing a friendly voice on the other end of the phone and then receiving the nicotine patch finally did it for me. The patch worked to stop the cravings. I stopped feeling the urge to smoke, and that made all the difference. After I received the package and educational materials for free, I felt an obligation not to let the Quit Coach down. I had to give it a try.”
The New York State Smokers’ Quitline is available as a free resource for all New Yorkers seeking help to quit smoking.
Among other reasons she is happy that she quite smoking is that she no longer smells like a cigarette, she said. She also likes that she can breathe better – she even works out these days, which she noted helps to take her mind off smoking. Now Tracy is hoping that her story will help to encourage others to drop the bad habit, no matter how difficult.
“Don’t stop trying – you don’t know which attempt will finally be the right time,” Tracy said. “It’s like Heaven to never think about smoking again. It was a burden, and now I don’t have to carry that weight around. When you quit smoking, you’ll feel like you can do anything.”
If you’re considering kicking cigarettes to the curb, The Quitline has personalized Quit Coaches and can help to guide people to access a starter kit of nicotine replacement therapy. Smokers can also check with their healthcare providers, to see if they cover prescriptions for stop-smoking medications.
“Smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the world, but many free resources are available in New York State to help smokers quit,” said Kimberly Bank, RN, program coordinator for Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free Western New York, based at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo. “By combining coaching and medication, the odds for quitting successfully increase threefold. Healthcare providers play a major role in getting the process started, between prescribing the right medications and making referrals to the New York State Smokers’ Quitline for added support. Health plans, especially Medicaid, often cover extra nicotine replacement therapy and local cessation classes. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health, so use all the benefits available to make it happen.”
This New Year and any year, smokers should 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 smoke-free life. Quit Coaches are available seven days a week beginning at 9 a.m., and additional resources are available online at www.nysmokefree.com.
Lead image: DodgertonSkillhause