When Jason Irish of Charlotte found out he and his wife were expecting a son, he made a promise to quit smoking for good as soon as the baby was born. It took him a little more time than that to successfully quit, but now he is a proud non-smoker with a one-and-a-half-year-old toddler to keep up with.
Irish’s secret weapon for quitting, after many unsuccessful attempts? The North Carolina Tobacco Cessation Quitline. After strongly urging Irish to quit smoking, his doctor handed him two pieces of paper: a prescription for cessation medication and a card containing the Quitline number: 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Calling a stranger for help quitting smoking seemed “silly” to Irish at first, but now he’s glad he called anyway, and had his first of many talks with his Quit Coach. “He knew what I was going to say before I knew what I was going to say,” said Irish, now 33. “He was awesome -- very professional -- very encouraging.” Armed with his medication, talks, emails and printed materials from his Quit Coach, and moral support from his wife and co-workers, Irish was able to navigate the sometimes nasty symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, and build his confidence that he could successfully quit, even after 14 years of smoking.
Irish said having his Quit Coach help build his confidence was one of his keys to success. “I had tried so many times,” he said. “You come down on yourself for not being able to quit.” Tips from his Quit Coach helped him with all aspects of quitting, Irish explained, even avoiding relapse. “I feel great. I’m happy with being a nonsmoker,” he said. “You have to be 100% diligent about being a quit smoker.”
Irish’s tip for others who would like to quit? “The biggest thing I think is, find a reason; find a good reason (to quit),” he said. “Call the Quitline; talk to your doctor. Anything you can do to increase those chances, take advantage of it.”
The NC Tobacco Cessation Quitline is confidential, free, and available daily, 8 a.m. until midnight. Quit coaching is available in Spanish and many other languages. Quit coaches can make arrangements to call you back or set you up with online quitting assistance.
Funding for the Quitline is provided by the State of NC, the Health and Wellness Trust Fund, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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