A Breath of Fresh Air

Susan's Quit Story

One of Susan's Quilts

Just as no two people are alike, neither are our reasons for quitting smoking.

I'd like to introduce you to Susan, a member of the About.com Smoking Cessation support forum. Recently Susan, an avid quilter, shared her reasons for finally taking the steps that would free her of nicotine addiction, once and for all.

Thanks for sharing your story Susan, and congratulations. Smoking cessation is truly a gift that will continue to reward you with benefits far into the future.

From Susan:

I didn't quit smoking because of health worries. I didn't quit smoking because of expense worries.

I quit smoking because I'm a quilter and a seamstress and a knitter. I got tired of cringing when nonsmokers sniffed my work and wrinkled their noses in disgust. I couldn't enter any quilt competitions because they refuse to accept quilts from smokers. They said they "contaminate the other quilts". In doing research online I learned that nicotine/tar bonds to cloth fibers and is difficult or impossible to remove.

Always I've sewn and knitted for premature infants and full-term babies. I started worrying about how any nicotine might remain trapped in the fibers (even though I washed everything according to hospital requirements) and might compromise the health of fragile infants. I wanted to help, not hurt.

My bathroom is painted with semi-gloss paint. Every time after showering, rivulets of brown would roll down the walls ...

nicotine and tar collected in the mist from the hot water. Every time company was expected, I had to haul out the ladder and wash down the walls to get rid of the yellow-brown tar drips.

I keep my bedroom door closed all the time because my 18-year-old cat has to be kept isolated from the other cats.

In spite of that, my son's TV, which is three rooms down the hall from my room, would take five or six washings in succession to get all the tar off the screen.

I ignored the fact that the same brown coating was going into my lungs, and my son's lungs, and anybody else's lungs who came to visit.

People used to ask me if I'd ever quit smoking. I'd reply with a "joke". "They'll put it in the newspaper when I quit. It's called the Obituary Column." But the time came when I realized that's not funny at all, but a reality for far too many people.

I started smoking at 20 because I wanted to look older. I'll be 66 next month and I look 86. So you could say smoking did what I wanted it to.

For 45 years I was the nicodemon's devoted servant. I smoked often and inhaled deeply. I honestly don't know what the final straw was. I just know I was determined to get free.

On June 7, 2009, I quit smoking. I'm almost at eight months smoke-free. Sometimes I still hear the junkie whisper, but it gets fainter every time.

Most of the time I don't even think about smoking, or miss it.

I've left the tar drips on the walls. So I don't forget. But when I get to my key ... one year free ... I'll wash and repaint the bathroom, then my bedroom in some bright happy color that will never be disfigured with brown stains.

The forum has been a tremendous resource. I can't express enough my gratitude for its existence strongly enough.


If you're still smoking, use Susan's story as a springboard for your own resolve to put that last cigarette out and use the tools below to help you build a quit program that is solid and lasting.

Believe in yourself and your ability to boot the butts to the curb for good. You can do it, and we're here to help you, every step of the way.

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