notobacco

Tobacco-Free Citizen

In Local News on December 18, 2008 at 11:09 am

WASHINGTON, Ind. – Washington resident Curtis Jones has been named the Daviess and Pike County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Tobacco-Free Citizen for 2008. Jones, who works for Washington’s wastewater department, has been free from cigarettes for 10 years.

Jones started smoking as a freshman in high school due to peer pressure during lunch break. Over time, he says, tobacco took over his life. He wouldn’t go places like movies where he knew he couldn’t smoke for a period of time. He sat in the back row at church so he could slip out and have a smoke. He avoided taking jobs with strict smoking policies. And he felt guilty because he knew smoking was unhealthy, but he just couldn’t quit.

After years of smoking, he reached a point in his life when he had to decide whether to smoke or buy lunch for his kids. Cigarettes were costing him $63 per week, plus the numerous doctor bills from sore throats and bronchitis exacerbated by his smoking. He chose to put his children first and quit smoking.

Quitting was one of the hardest things Jones has ever done. When he decided to quit, he was smoking three packs of cigarettes a day and couldn’t go for a day without them. Before actually quitting, Jones had to wean himself down to fewer cigarettes per day. On his quit date, Jones told God if He got him through the first day, he would stick it out to the end.

“Unbelievably I prayed,” he said. “It’s something I wasn’t able to do on my own. I said, ‘Lord, just get me through the first day.’”

Besides leaning on his faith, Jones also enlisted the help of his doctor, who was leading a support group for people who wanted to quit smoking. He said it was worth every bit of the $150 he paid to talk to his doctor and join the group because it taught him to change habits and avoid triggers that prompted his smoking, such as drinking caffeine and alcohol. He began eating a better diet and exercising to deal with the stress and anger that he had been using nicotine to combat.

“I had to quit drinking to quit smoking. I had to have extra patience with my kids and go for walks to calm my anger,” he said.

He also used the prescription Welbutrin, a nicotine inhaler, and a plastic cigarette to overcome his cravings for nicotine and the actions associated with smoking.

After quitting, Jones began to realize just how tight a hold tobacco had over his life.

“I didn’t realize how bad I stank until I quit,” he said.

Ten years after quitting, Jones still experiences occasional cravings, but he knows now they will pass with a drink of water. He is glad he quit and never looked back not just for the money he saved, gaining back the support group fee in only a few weeks, but also for the health he gained – he rarely has to go to the doctor anymore – and the good example he is giving his children.

“I hate to see young people imprisoning themselves,” he said. “I hate to see people get addicted because it controls their life.”

“I am so proud of what Curtis has accomplished and the example he has set for his children and friends. His story shows that if a person really wants to quit tobacco and finds the right resources, they can do it, no matter how tough it may seem,” said Sally Petty, Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Project Coordinator for Daviess and Pike counties.

If you decide to make it your New Year’s resolution to quit using tobacco this year, schedule an appointment with your doctor and call the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free professional counseling and two weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy.

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