Canadian Lung Association Blog

Colleen’s Story: On January 1, 1992 I made the decision to quit

I started smoking when I was 15 due to the stress I felt I was under.

Colleen DriscollAs I look back, I realize I had little support or education to help me cope with family changes, deaths in the family, plus the challenges of being a teenager.

In the 1970’s smoking was the thing to do. I watched my older brothers and sisters smoke, so one day I tried a cigarette myself. My smoking continued throughout high school, where I smoked occasionally. However, it wasn’t until I started nursing school that I really started smoking – we smoked everywhere, even including at the nursing station.

Over the next 20 years, I continued to smoke. I hated smoking but found it so hard to quit. I was feeling like a hypocrite when I would encourage my pregnant patients to quit, yet I myself had just gone for a smoke.

So January 1st 1992, I made the decision to quit.

Of course I made this resolution every New Years, but this one was different – I had a backup plan. My brother-in-law’s father was a magician who hypnotized people to help them quit smoking. I went to his place to try it myself, and it worked for me!

In addition to being hypnotized, I made sure to drink a lot of water, as well as continued to eat and sleep well.

In my experience, I found that things come in three’s, so why would it be different with quitting smoking? My first bad craving came three days after I quit. I was in the hot tub at the gym and I suddenly felt like I would have killed for a cigarette. Fortunately, the craving went away. The next bad craving was three weeks later when we drove by a sign advertising cigarettes. I could have jumped out of the car to buy some right then and there! Three months after that, I was dreaming about smoking and I woke up in a sweat thinking I was smoking again!

Now, 23 years later, I am so happy to be smoke free. I continue to drink lots of water, eat healthy, and sleep well. I now advocate for smoke-free areas and feel comfortable discussing quitting smoking with my patients, knowing that if I could do it, so can they.

The BC Lung Association & QuitNow

QuitNow is a province-wide quit smoking support resource managed by the BC Lung Association and funded by the BC Ministry of Health. QuitNow offers free phone, text and online quit coaching and a range of personal quit tracking and planning tools. QuitNow also manages the most active online quit smoking Facebook community in Canada – where more than 15,000 users can go any time of day or night to share and support one another through the quit process.

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Tracey Jirak

Tracey Jirak is a Health Promotor with BC Lung Association's QuitNow.

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Posted in Lung Health, Smoking & Tobacco, Stories

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