Andy Colon decided to quit his tobacco addiction and went all out to create a healthier lifestyle for himself. He changed the way he ate, exercised more and, of course, stopped smoking. A friend told him about the Wellness@Work Tobacco Cessation program and Andy loved the idea of getting the support to quit, as well as the convenience of meeting at his workplace. It gave him the “backbone for change.” The free medications and the incentive of $100 for remaining tobacco free for 6 months encouraged him to reach his goal.
Matt Lawrence came to the Wellness@Work Program dipping a can of tobacco every day, having made multiple “practice attempts” without sustaining abstinence. He hated the control that tobacco exerted over him. In his position as Deputy Fire Chief, he wanted to be a good role model and had become weary of hiding his tobacco use.
Erin Barringer, a nursing assistant in the Neurosciences Hospital, began smoking socially in 10th grade, and over the years she increased her smoking to one-half pack of cigarettes a day. She continued at this level until 2010 when she found out she was pregnant. She remained tobacco free through her pregnancy and breastfeeding until her daughter, Jalliyah, was about 6 months old. At that time, she returned to smoking socially — and also did so to help deal with stress.
January 26, 2016 will be two years since Matt Englund has been tobacco free. This wasn’t Matt’s first attempt at quitting, but he says it’s his last. Four years prior, he quit for a year without using any medication. He used the “Delay” method. (When you crave a cigarette, delay, delay, delay.) That worked until the stress of school, work, and a new baby made him feel like he wanted to smoke again. This most recent period of smoking lasted about 18 months. It was then that he went to his primary care physician at Family Medicine, who asked him if he smoked. When he responded “yes,” the physician asked if he wanted help in quitting. When Matt responded “yes” again, he referred Matt to the UNC Tobacco Free Tar Heels Program. Since his wife was a UNC Health Care employee, and Matt was a dependent on her insurance, he was able to enter the free program.
Lana Simons, a Chapel Hill Transit employee, has been tobacco free for 2½ years! She says it’s a “nicer way to live,” not having cigarettes as part of her life, and she is proud of herself for doing it.
Howard Sutton, clinical support technician in the Department of Anesthesia, enrolled in the Tobacco Free Tar Heels program three years ago. Today he is tobacco free.When Howard Sutton enrolled in the Tobacco Free Tar Heels (TFTH) program three years ago, stress in his life seemed to be the biggest barrier to quitting smoking. After trying different strategies for dealing with stress, he always found himself turning back to smoking for relief.
When nursing assistant Rebecca Langham enrolled in UNC Health Care System’s Tobacco Free Tar Heels (TFTH) program, she had been smoking a pack of cigarettes daily since she was 16 years old. Today, thanks to TFTH and her own personal dedication, she’s tobacco free.
Robb English, the Aquatics Supervisor in Chapel Hill’s Parks and Recreation Department, dipped almost a can of tobacco a day when he came to the Wellness at Work Tobacco Free Employee Program. As a teenager who played sports, Robb says that dipping tobacco was part of the culture, less overt and obvious than smoking cigarettes. But now Robb wanted to give himself the best chance for living a healthy life, so he took the first step: enrolling in a program that offered support and medications to help him achieve his goal.
Smoking on and off since I was thirteen, I’d tried every trick in the book to stop. Every attempt ended in failure, whether it was stopping cold turkey or gradually with the help of medication. I became, as the old joke goes, an expert on quitting. After all, I’d done it so many times. But, with the help of the Nicotine Dependence Program it seems to be working. Not only am I smoke-free, but I don’t really think much about smoking any more. I knew when I chose to stop that I needed help to do it. I was looking for a program that would provide structure and accountability without sermons or judgment. This program does that and more.