When Tiffany was 16 years old, her mother, a cigarette smoker, died of lung cancer. Tiffany felt lost and abandoned without her. “Watching her suffer and cough was awful,” she recalls. “I felt alone and scared, and I felt it could have been prevented.” Still, Tiffany started smoking cigarettes in her late teens. “On the college scene, a lot of kids I went to school with were smoking, and I wanted to fit in.” Throughout the years she tried to quit, but it wasn’t until her own daughter was 16 that she made the connection to her mother and put forth a serious attempt to quit. “I didn’t want my daughter to think, ‘Wow, my mother loves cigarette smoking more than she cares about me,’” says Tiffany.
In her effort to quit, she set a specific date to quit smoking and reached out to family and friends for support. Tiffany also changed her morning ritual. Instead of getting up an hour early to drink coffee and smoke, she enjoyed an extra hour of sleep. She got rid of all the cigarettes and ashtrays in her home and car and carried a picture of her mother, especially during long road trips, to remind her of everything her mother went through and her death from lung cancer. For a while, Tiffany avoided social events where she might be tempted to smoke. She drank a lot of water and started exercising more often. She quickly discovered that without cigarettes, she had more energy and stamina. Even though she had tried to quit several times before, the support she received from family and friends helped this time. They sent cards of encouragement, helped her keep a positive attitude, and called and reminded her of all the reasons to never smoke again.
Tiffany says that during previous attempts to quit smoking, she used a nicotine patch, but only for a few days. This time she read and followed all the instructions. This helped ease the cravings for cigarettes.
Her biggest and most enduring motivation has been her daughter. “She was so happy and so proud of me when I quit,” says Tiffany. “She told me she had prayed that I would quit smoking. And I told her, ‘I quit because I want to be around for you.’ I love her so much, and watching her grow up and thinking how successful she could be in her life, I can’t bear the thought of missing out on any of it!”
Tiffany, 40, Louisiana; quit smoking at 34; smoke-free since January 2012
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