By: Alison Link
For many of us, the New Year has become a time of resolutions and goal setting. In this post, we want to share smoking and tobacco cessation stories and resources to encourage all who may be considering quitting smoking or reducing exposure to second-hand smoke. In Vermont, three behaviors – one being tobacco use – lead to four chronic diseases (cancer, heart disease, lung disease and diabetes) result in over 50% of deaths. (Learn more here.)
As we know, behavior change is difficult. So what factors help those who are using tobacco make the shift in their stage of change from pre-contemplation or contemplation to action, making a quit plan and implementing it with the support they need? What follows here are a couple of personal stories of those impacted by 802 Quits.
This fall, Hiata Kirby, a Healthy Lamoille Valley staff member, was searching our website for upcoming edits, a process that led her to http://802quits.org. A smoker of 12 years, she wondered how the site worked and how it could help her. As she continued deeper into the 802 Quits website links and articles, she thought, “I can do this!” and started making a plan. She set a quit date 3 weeks away as the prompts on the site helped her to think through choosing a realistic quit date. The site also helped her plan for what she would do when having a craving and identify the nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patches, and/or lozenges) she wanted to use. She was able to place an order to have them mailed to her in time for her quit date.
This New Year’s Eve, she will be 4 months smoke-free with many thanks to her husband and son who have encouraged her to quit. It’s not easy, but Hiata reports taking lots of deep breaths, and being extra vigilant. She is grateful for the free nicotine replacement, and that it arrived in advance of her quit date. The arrival of the products was another day that she looked forward to within the process. Reflecting on her experience thus far with 802 Quits, Hiata said,
“I think the thing I liked the most about 802 Quits and quitting… and my best advice to others hoping to quit, is to make a plan. It takes a long time to break a habit…stay busy and figure out how to not have nicotine in your life. My incentive is the health part and my family.”
Hiata is not alone in this appreciation for the support and free quit products offered by 802 Quits. Casey Dewey, Development Coordinator at Green Mountain Support Services, quit recently through a class offered in conjunction with 802 Quits and Vermont Quit Partners at her workplace. She said,
“802 Quits was very helpful. It made it financially affordable to quit. It would have been cheaper in the moment to keep smoking. It was important to be able to quit with people I know and who I used to smoke with in the past. Now, we go for walks and still make the time for that few minutes break.”
Hiata and Casey both mentioned that they still take a break, just not a smoke break. Instead, it’s an outside break, often with a social component and sometimes a walk. Planning in advance for the free nicotine replacement products was very helpful for both of them, as well as the planning for the next round in advance. Whether using 802 Quits online or through a class, those connected to the program feel supported.
Local Classes Starting in January
If you are interested in a local cessation class, two classes are starting in January. Classes run for 4 weeks and provide 8 weeks of free nicotine replacement for those interested and a free gift card once the course is completed.
Erica Coats, of CHSLV coordinates the Lamoille Valley classes and shares the importance of the 802 Quits partnership. “802 Quits provide the community with resources and education surrounding how to quit and how to get connected with the resources. 802 Quits has been a great supporter for the cessation classes here in Lamoille county, providing participants with 8 weeks of free nicotine replacement as well as quit tools to help individuals be successful in their drive to quit tobacco.”
Kate Myerson, Tobacco Cessation Specialist and a Class Facilitator, adds, “Classes are a great way to learn from others going through the same thing without fear of judgment.”
January cessation class start dates:
- January 10th – Cambridge Family Practice 5-6pm
- January 18th – SASH building in Morrisville 5-6pm
What to look out for in the next months from 802 Quits website:
- A new look and updated website launch!
- Based on customer feedback and research, 802 Quits will become more accessible for those interested in using the resource.
- 802 Quits will help folks take action around cessation- quit on their own and get medication to help.
- Quit Your Way! Regardless of how an individual wants to quit… on phone, in person, online, the website will have relevant and useful information. There will be opportunities to learn what to expect with and compare the different options.
- 802 Quits can help those interested motivate themselves, learn why they smoke and create strategies to help with that, create a quit plan, and receive information on putting a plan into action.
Alison Link is the Policy and Community Outreach Coordinator for Healthy Lamoille Valley, where she spends two-thirds of her time working on the new tobacco prevention grant received from the Vermont Department of Health. Alison can also be found teaching courses at Johnson State College, volunteering with restorative justice programs and supporting individuals in valuing their time, staying healthy and enhancing their leisure lifestyles through her own initiative, The Leisure Link. Alison enjoys the quality of life in Vermont and lives in Morrisville with her husband, Rabbi David Fainsilber (of the Jewish Community of Greater Stowe) and their young children.