Picture five rose bowls filled to capacity. That’s about 500,000 people. And that’s about how many people die every year from smoking. Most smokers want to quit, try but often fail. But one woman said the secret to her success is support from her peers.
“Hold it. You want to fill those lungs.” Said Noreen Labonte.
Noreen Labonte, a Quit Smoking Now facilitator, is measuring smokers’ blood oxygen levels, while being thankful she doesn’t have to worry about her own anymore.
“I started smoking at 13 years old,” said Labonte
It took her 29 years before she was able to quit the first time. Like millions of other smokers, it wasn’t the last time.
“I saw a commercial on television for Tobacco Free Florida,” She said.
That led her to Dr. Steven Zucker, DMD, MED, Associate Dean for Community Affairs & Director of the Area Health Education Center Program at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He directs a tobacco cessation and training program.
“Stopping and then starting again is not failure, it’s a dress rehearsal for the real success,” verified Dr. Zucker.
Only about one in ten smokers can quit all alone, so Zucker’s team created a program of free group support classes.
“Smokers can get together in groups with the facilitators who are tobacco treatment specialists,” Dr. Zucker said.
Noreen was able to finally quit after taking the six-week session and now she’s teaching it.
“People hold responsibility or accountability with each other; they want to see everyone succeed,” affirmed Labonte
Whether you try to quit by joining a group or going it alone, Noreen said a changed attitude is crucial if you’re serious about quitting.
“Instead of saying I quit smoking, empower yourself to say I don’t smoke,” declared Labonte.
Steven Zucker said over the past ten years, more than 40,000 people have attended their group cessation classes and they estimate that more than a third have successfully quit.
That’s a lot of lives saved! For more information please visit tobaccofreeflorida.com/quityourway or check out the American Lung Association’s national site at lung.org/stop-smoking/i-want-to-quit.