COLORADO SPRINGS – Over the course of Heart Health Month, doctors continue to emphasize that of the many heart health habits we should have, one of the biggest things we can all do for our heart health is to not smoke, or quit smoking.
Dr. Crystal Erickson is a thoracic surgeon at UCHealth Memorial Central Hospital in Colorado Springs who says, “Smoking remains the largest single preventable cause of death and illness in the United States. In the world it causes more than four hundred and eighty thousand deaths. Also in the United States per year about sixteen million Americans currently live with a smoking related illness.”
In our last story I told you about one of our crew members here at News5 on our morning team, Chris Demers who recently gave up a nearly thirty year tobacco habit.
Chris says it was the Colorado QuitLine that helped him take that final step. “I have seen the commercials and heard about it. I heard you talk about it Ira and believe it or not whenever you said ‘hey call the QuitLine they can help you,’ and I did, and it was amazing. I made the first call and they said, ‘we are going to call you every week to check up on you and see how you’re doing, and then coach you on anything you have questions about.’ As promised they called every week, if I had any type of cravings that were too strong I could always just call them, talk to them on-line or text them and someone would always respond with something positive. They would suggest some way to help me get through it. They also paid for the nicotine patches that helped me get through the first, initial part of (quitting) it.”
Chris feels like no matter how much anyone is offering to help you quit smoking or vaping, a person has to have the desire to quit. Even with an inner desire, and the substantial help of the QuitLine, giving up a nearly thirty year habit doesn’t happen in just a few months.
When it comes to cravings Chris says after 3 months of being vape free, “It’s still there, depending on what I’m doing after I eat, when I first wake up, or driving in the car those are my triggers. With the QuitLine they help you recognize the triggers and give you ideas of what to do to get your mind off it.”
It’s that kind of positive support and accountability combined with offering free resources like nicotine patches that were the most helpful about the QuitLine for Chris. “I would say every interaction with them was positive. They never judge you for any reason, they just help talk you through what went wrong if something did, or what you can do to keep things from going wrong.”
If you would like the Colorado QuitLine to help you, start by visiting their website.