Inspirational Stories from the MUSC Tobacco Treatment Program


Photo of Donna

"I quit because I had cancer. You need a purpose when you quit and being told I had cancer was it for me."

Donna's Quit Tips

  • Write down your reasons (purpose) for quitting
  • Talk with your doctor about tools and medicines that can help you
  • Switch routines - instead of coffee in the morning, have a cup of tea
  • Reward yourself for living smoke-free

I quit smoking after I found out I had breast cancer. I can’t think of anything worse for a person than being told you have cancer. My doctor made it clear to me that my chances of beating breast cancer would be a lot better if I stopped smoking. That’s all I needed to hear. It wasn’t that easy. I’d been smoking since I was 17. I was up to a pack and a half per day when I quit. I didn’t even like smoking. It was embarrassing, so I did most of my smoking all by myself. You need a purpose when you quit. I dropped $5 a day into a jar every day during chemo and radiation therapy to remind me of another day without smoking. My pharmacist gave me nicotine patches and suggested I use sugarless candy when I wanted a cigarette. She would also measure the carbon monoxide (CO) I had in my system. CO is elevated in smokers. I’d post the results on the refrigerator like a report card for my son to see. That helped. Today I feel free. My teeth are cleaner, and my nails and hands are no longer stained with tobacco. I went on vacation with the money I saved. I wish I had never started smoking, but I’m happy I’m smoke-free now.


Photo of Kevin

"I quit to take back control. Taking back control over my smoking has made me feel stronger and boosted my confidence."

Kevin's Quit Tips

  • Commit 100 percent and clean out places you used to smoke like your car 
  • Don’t go inside gas stations for the first few weeks after you quit 
  • Find a quit buddy and support each other
  • Set mini-goals (1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year, a lifetime) and remind yourself of each success daily

My partner and I moved to Charleston and we made a pact to stop smoking together. We were ready for a complete make over and we wanted to make a fresh start. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, but I’m fine now. I had smoked and dipped since age 15 and learned from many quit attempts along the way. I even stopped for two years, but fell back into smoking again. I know I can’t cheat again. I got rid of my cigarettes and dip so I wouldn’t be tempted. I didn’t go inside gas stations for the first few weeks. I distanced myself when my friends would light up and spent more time hanging out with other nonsmokers. To tell you the truth, taking back control over my smoking has made me feel stronger and boosted my confidence. I like the fact I don’t really have cravings anymore, and if they do pop up they will go away quickly. Honestly, I don’t even think about smoking and dipping anymore. I have more energy and don’t get as bad of a hangover when I drink. Who knew?