CDC Tips from Former Smokers Campaign
Tiffany, 35 from Louisiana, quit smoking at age 34
By Tiffany Roberson, featured in CDC Tips from Former Smokers Campaign
I saw how smoking cigarettes ruins lives before I graduated high school. Before my sixteenth birthday, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and then died shortly afterwards. She wasn’t there to see my high school graduation, which was the first of many important milestones in my life that she missed.
Losing her at such a young age created a void I my life that still weighs heavily on me today. Worst of all, I know that her premature death could have been prevented. She died because she started smoking cigarettes in college and was never able to quit.
For a long time, it looked like I was going to repeat my mother’s mistakes. I began smoking cigarettes in college and continued until last year, when my own daughter, Jaelin, turned sixteen. That’s when I realized it was time to make a choice. I could continue smoking cigarettes or I could live to see my daughter grow up and experience the milestones that my mother couldn’t, like her prom, her graduation, her wedding and many others.
In January 2012, I decided that every second longer I can spend with my daughter is worth more to me than even one more cigarette, and I smoked for the last time.
I knew quitting wouldn’t be easy because I had tried and failed before. There were many times that I had used a nicotine patch for a few days without following the directions closely. I would always fall back into smoking.
This time was different. This time I knew exactly what was at stake. I even carried with me a picture of my mother to remind me of everything I went through before and after her death.
I started by taking a few important steps to improve my life. I got rid of all the cigarettes and ashtrays in my home and car. I followed the directions for the nicotine patch to a T. Instead of getting up an hour early to drink coffee and smoke, I enjoyed the extra hour of sleep. I began exercising more often and starting drinking a lot of water. Not only was I determined to live longer, I was ready to live with more energy and stamina than ever before.
There were times when things got tough, but I turned to my friends and family — instead of cigarettes — for support and strength. They would surprise me and inspire me by sending cards of encouragement to help me keep a positive attitude. They even called me regularly to remind me of all the reasons to never smoke again.
Of course, the only reason that ever really mattered was sitting across the dinner table. My daughter is a bright and beautiful young woman who can succeed at anything she wants to accomplish in this world.
And because I stopped smoking, I’m going to be around to see it. I can’t think of a better reason to quit than that.
By appearing in the Tips From Former Smokers campaign, I hope that I can remind at least one smoker that they will miss their loved ones more than they could ever miss cigarettes.
For more information about the Tips campaign and resources for quitting smoking, visit http://www.cdc.gov/tips. For help quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
You can visit http://www.cdc.gov/tips for more info.