Deb is 57 years old, a resident of Jericho and will celebrate her four year smoke free anniversary June 22, 2012. She decided to quit smoking because everyone she knew died of tobacco. She lost four friends to it in 2008 and said about her losses,
“My phone doesn’t ring anymore because all my friends are dead.”
Deb knows first-hand how expensive smoking can be in terms of health care costs. She was executor of her friend’s will and was presented with a $28,000 bill for medical costs incurred during her friend’s final days. She also has her friend’s CPAP machine which Deb placed on her face every night to help her breathe near the end of her life. Sadly, her friend’s death certificate is a reminder that smoking kills as it cites smoking as a cause of death.
Deb started smoking when she was 26 after she had two roommates that smoked. She smoked for over 25 years and said everyone smoked when she was young and no one knew the effects it would have.
Deb was able to quit smoking by using QuitNet, the on-line cessation program offered through the Vermont Quit Network as part of the Tobacco Control Program. She loved it because it provided resources that really worked for her.
She participated in peer support groups and was able to access smoking cessation counselors by clicking on the QuitNet’s calendar to find specific times when she could have live chats with them. The program lets smokers plan when they want to quit, provides email support and constant reminders. The on-line resource also tracks how many days a person has been smoke free and how much they’ve saved from smoking.
Deb has been smoke free since June 22, 2008 and has saved $4,841.60 and counting.
JANE CRAFTS — Waitsfield, VT
(quit smoking after breast cancer diagnosis and husband quit chew tobacco)
Jane Crafts, 69 years old of Waitsfield, came to see Lisa Willette, a tobacco treatment specialist at CVMC, due to encouragement from a doctor after carcinoma was detected in one of her breasts. She is now cancer and smoke-free and is a true champion of the benefits of Vermont’s Tobacco Control Program. Here is her story.
Jane had an abnormal mammogram this past summer and was diagnosed with DCIF, ductile carcinoma in her right breast. As a result, she had a partial mastectomy and is fine now. But during her diagnosis, a surgeon at CVMC, Dr. Zeden, asked Jane to see a radiation oncologist at FAHC. The doctor, Dr. Rubin, told Jane, “What you have in your right breast is insignificant next to your smoking.” This was a real wake-up call to Jane and the impetus for her to seek quit counseling. (Jane had smoked since she was 15 years old. She says, “Our parents used to give us cigarettes back then.” She had tried a few times to cut back with little success.)
Jane looked up the smoking cessation program at CVMC and called Lisa Wilette. Jane and her husband, a spit tobacco user, then met with Lisa. They were given information to read, set a quit date, and was shipped NRT (nicotine replacement therapy). Jane says, “I was shocked. I received Nicoderm patches and Commit lozenges worth $85.”
Jane began wearing the 21mg patch, set Thanksgiving as her quit date and hasn’t smoked since. She still uses the patch but at a lower dose of 14mg.
Jane is enthusiastic about quitting and credits the help she received through CVMC and the tobacco control program. “I had felt lousy, had no energy and didn’t feel well all the time. I’m a different person now!” she said. Jane says her husband is quite proud and tells everyone how Jane quit smoking.
The personal attention Jane received made all the difference. Jane’s direct shipment of NRT didn’t work the first time due to PO and street address differences, but Gigi Magee of CVMC called The Drug Store in Waitsfield and the owner generously let Jane pick up the patches from them and Gigi mailed him a print buck to submit for reimbursement. “It does take a village sometimes to make this happen,” said Gigi.
Jane’s husband is also tobacco free now as he gave up his spit tobacco. Both are very happy with their success and the help from CVMC.
Gigi was thrilled to receive a holiday card from the Crafts which read: “This is a special Christmas for me. With your help and encouragement I think I’ve achieved something I thought impossible. The patches have been so helpful. You ladies are doing a wonderful service and I’ve spread the word to all that would listen. The “Kiss Me-I don’t Smoke” sticker is great. I want a T-shirt with that on it. Is there such a thing” Thanks a million.”