Richard started smoking in high school and continued on-and-off for more than 40 years. He would plan his day around smoking and spend quite a bit of time taking drags. He said his car was a trigger to light up, part of his daily ritual.
“It was hard for me to kick it, I just couldn’t,” Rich said. “My dad smoked most of my life,” and suffered from COPD. “He could hardly walk across a parking lot.”
Rich didn’t want that to happen to him, so he enrolled in QUITS, a UW-CTRI research study, and Health Counselor Chris Ripley inspired him to change his routines. He elected to alter his work schedule and avoid driving for a while.
“Having someone who isn’t judgmental and can talk through the plan is really helpful,” Rich said. They worked through the oral fixation, habitual motions, and how to occupy his hands during cravings.
“The Chantix helped me a lot. During that week, you’re taking Chantix while still smoking. After the first day and whole week, you’d smoke and it just wasn’t doing it for me. So, by the quit date, you’re already cut off from the high of it. Chantix took away the physical dependency. I didn’t get anything from it anymore.”
Driving is no longer a trigger for Rich, especially because he used some of the $1,600-a-year he used to spend on cigarettes to buy a new vehicle. It has a sensor in the front to help him avoid accidents.
Now, when he’s behind the wheel, life is a highway.