Beatrice, the mother of two boys, lives in New York. She tried her first cigarette at age 7, her second at 11, and then began smoking regularly when she was 13. She had friends who smoked and she wanted to be "cool" like them.
More than 25 years later, Beatrice still smoked. She was not a heavy smoker and had not been diagnosed with any smoking-related health problems, but she wanted to quit. Her family also wanted her to quit. Although she had tried many times before, in 2010, Beatrice quit for good.
"When my son was 11, he wrote me a letter and in it he asked me to quit smoking," says Beatrice. "And when I was going through the process of quitting, that letter was very motivating for me. I want to be here for my family."
A half-pack-a-day smoker, Beatrice says quitting was difficult and that she needed help. She used patches and other medicines to help ease withdrawal symptoms, and she would always look at her son's letter if she needed an extra reminder of her reasons for staying smoke-free.
Beatrice, now 40, has more energy than when she smoked, and she cooks more—because food tastes so much better. She encourages anyone who wants to quit smoking to do it—but to get help if they need it. Beatrice found additional support online from friends who encouraged her to stay smoke-free, as well as from her family. "You're going to need support, because it's not always easy," she says, "but the main thing is, you really have to want to quit."
On her participation in the Tips From Former Smokers campaign, Beatrice says, "I want to offer hope to people that it is possible for you to join the ranks of nonsmokers."
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- CDC/Office on Smoking and Health
4770 Buford Highway
Atlanta, Georgia 30341-3717