Karen Schutte has tried to quit smoking more times than she cares to remember. She even tried once during the original Wisconsin Smokers’ Health Study (WSHS). She came back for WSHS 2, at first, solely to help the researchers gather more information. But, once she came back for the second study, she found she was able to quit smoking Nov. 1, 2013.
She said her experience in the first study helped her the second time around. “I learned from it. I can control the urges. They’re not as bad as I thought. They’re temporary.”
Karen has benefitted from the coaching by her WSHS 2 Health Counselor, Russ Kies. She also received free medications. She uses the nicotine patch to provide a safe, steady dose of nicotine. If a strong craving pops up, she can use a nicotine lozenge to help her get through.
Karen said that she has tried meditating. That has helped her to control her thoughts and emotions. Another way she gets through urges is to phone a friend. It takes her mind off smoking. “I change the conversation in my head.”
She credits Russ with helping her through the process. “Being accountable helps,” she said. “The tests are motivating. You want to know if it gets better. In my case, it’s my cholesterol. We have a history of high cholesterol in my family. I’m hoping that, by quitting smoking, I can control it.”
Now that she’s smoke-free, Karen enjoys the taste of food much more. She eats more fruits and vegetables. She also can chat longer because she doesn’t have to go outside to smoke. She recommends WSHS 2 to friends.