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By Barbara Silver


After smoking for more than 40 years, with a brief three-year smoke-free period, Joe Manginelli, a Patient Business Associate at UNC Hospitals Spine and Imaging Center, had his last cigarette on September 22, 2011.

What made you decide to quit smoking?

A few things made me quit. Mostly I did it for my wife. But price and working at the hospital were contributing factors to quitting this time.

What was the hardest part about quitting?

Initially the hardest thing was quitting itself. The habit of smoking was harder than the craving for a cigarette for me.

Tell me a little bit about the UNC program and how it helped you.

The program offers the cessation help of medicine or replacement therapies like patches or gum. I chose Chantix, and it seemed to work well for me. Everyone is different, so you may have to try out a few things before you settle on what works for you best.

How long did it take for you to quit once you joined the program?

I quit right off the bat. I joined and had a session with a counselor, and then a doctor prescribed Chantix for me. I smoked for two weeks after that, then no more.

Do you keep in touch with people from the program?

I do speak with one of the counselors regularly on a personal level. We have built a nice relationship while I was in the program.

How has quitting most impacted your life?

Well, there are always a few bucks in my pocket now. Smoking cost me about $1850.00 a year. Now it’s either in my pocket or my bank account. No longer is it up in smoke.

What would you say to anyone who tells you they want to quit smoking but are unaware of where to begin?

If they work for UNC Health Care, I would direct them to the Tobacco Free Tar Heels program. It’s free and they work closely with you during the program.

What other advice would you give to people who want to quit?

The biggest bit of advice I can give is that you need to want to quit. There is no magic pill, gum or patch that will get you to kick the habit by itself. Will power works wonders. Build up your will power before you start any program.

If you (or a family member covered by your State Health Plan) are interested in the Tobacco Free Tar Heels program, contact Barbara Silver at (919) 445-5358 or More information about TFTH, including employee stories can be found at