Cigarettes: They Suck ... the Life out of Me
John Dunphy stops into Morristown Memorial's smoking cessation program.
There are over 4,000 chemicals in a cigarette. Over 80 of those are known carcinogens. And, yet, people still smoke.
And, yet, I still smoke. But, I'm working on it.
I officially quit (again) on Sept. 3 and had been doing very well until hitting a very stressful Patch (pun intended) last week. I bought a pack, smoked about half of it, felt terrible (physically and mentally) and ditched the rest of the pack by the end of the evening.
I've been a good boy since. I bought a box of nicotine patches, have used two so far, but have been relatively fine.
I mean, I know what cigarettes do to me. I know what they have done over the course of smoking on and off for the last 17 years (for those counting at home, that means I started when I was 14-years-old). When cigarettes went from $2 to $3 a pack, I said I would cut back. When they went from $3 to $4, I said the same. And, so on.
The pack of menthols I bought last week? $7.15. On sale.
The anger toward cigarettes, and their manufacturers, if evident in some of the words smoking cessation counsellor Lisa Picciuti chose when we met for a one-on-one meeting. The intake session, which can last about 45 minutes to an hour, is the longest of a multi-session program where family members and patients at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital can get treatment and advice toward finally breaking the smoking habit.
And, soon, the general public will be able to participate. Picciuti noted at our meeting that, through a grant of $10,000, her program will be able to accept anyone from the community, possibly as early as January.
This week also is the "Great American Smokeout." In its 35th year, this American Cancer Society-sponsored program has served as a benchmark for people thinking about quitting to finally step up to the challenge. Picciuti will be in the Morristown Memorial Hospital lobby from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 18, the day of the Great American Smokeout, with information, handouts as well as a "pledge sheet," asking people to set a quit date. Picciuti said she knows how hard it is to quit, so instead of just asking people to quit on Nov. 18, she is hoping that date will also serve as the beginning step toward the ultimate quit date.
For me, that quit date was nearly three months ago. But, I fell off the smoke wagon. Or, would one say I fell on it?
The smoking cessation program is one way to try and quit. Picciuti also suggested searching for other support services, many of which can be found on the state's QuitNet service, www.nj.quitnet.com.
I blew it. But, it's OK. Because, as soon as that cigarette is out, we're non-smokers. It's up to us to decide whether we want to stay that way.