The Super Stoppers Club is back in session. To belong, all a cigarette smoker has to do is quit. Here we congratulate the quitter publicly and broadcast his or her how-I-quit story far and wide.

Kim M. of Poolesville, MD, says she started smoking at 18 because she “wanted to be cool like everyone else.” She quit cold turkey in her 20s and stayed on the straight and narrow for four years. But she started again when she and her first husband divorced.

“I would quit here and there for about three months, but would always go back,” Kim reports. However, in 2018, she learned of a Freedom From Smoking class that was being offered, free, near her home.

“This class saved my life,” Kim says. “Emotionally, I feel so much better about myself. I was embarrassed every time I had to go smoke a cigarette when I was around non-smokers, and I felt judged. I no longer have to feel that way.”

Any urge to backslide, Kim? “I don’t even think about it anymore,” she says. “The key is, you have to want to quit more than you want to smoke.”

She did that, and she insists that it’s not that tough. Quitting is “uncomfortable for a few days, but you can get through it.” Well said and well done, Kim.

Michael S., of Breinigsville, PA, credits the pandemic with finally pushing him to quit.

Isolated at home with his wife, he continued to smoke, as he had for 45 years. His wife had quit ten years earlier after her mother died from a smoking-related illness. Yet Michael was still lighting up, smoking about a half a pack a day. “That made it difficult for our relationship,” he says.

Enter Freedom From Smoking, which Michael found in a nearby town through Google. The course worked right away.

How does he feel now? “Great!” Michael says. Gone are the days when he’d step out of the office every hour or so, “into the freezing cold of winter or heat of summer to grab some puffs.” Better yet, “I don’t smell bad. My clothes…smell good without having to dry clean them every month!”

Michael acknowledges that he has needed help since he quit. But thanks to nicotine-substitute gum, patches and a support group, so far, so good.

“I can walk up a flight of stairs again, shovel snow or walk around the block without losing my breath,” Michael reports. Good news indeed.

The final quitter for this installment is Phil L., of Denver, PA.

Like so many of us, Phil started smoking as a teenager “to rebel.” The habit had a grip on him for 44 years.

When he joined the U.S. Marines in 1972, “we were issued a carton of cigarettes and we were allowed smoke breaks several times a day,” Phil recalls. That only served to cement the habit.

One morning, in 2015, he coughed up blood. That encouraged him to see a bunch of doctors, who suggested he have surgery to remove one lung. It’s now seven years later “and I’m still here,” says Phil, proudly.

“Smoking is the biggest regret I have in life,” he concludes. “Not only is it expensive and dirty, it’s also very selfish. I can’t count the times my wife and children had to wait for me while I smoked a cigarette, or that I smoked in the car when they were kids.

“I regret smoking more than anything else.”

Phil realizes that he quit because his life was in immediate danger. But there’s a path for everyone, and it may not need to be based on an emergency, as it was for him. “People have to learn their own lessons,” he says. We’re glad, Phil, that you’ve learned yours, and that your example is teaching others.

Please be on the lookout for the next edition of the Super Stoppers Club. If you’re a quitter, or you know someone who is, I’d be grateful for full details. Please submit your story on this page.

In the meantime, congratulations again to our stoppers. May their examples be fruitful and multiply.

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