Quitline Episode 6: Hour Long Call In Show
Air Date: 9/30/05
Producer: Janaki LeFils
Description: Find out more about Quitting resources in this hour-long call-in show, which begins with Kim and Diego's final session and also features listener callers and health experts.
|Quitline Episode 1: Deciding to Quit||Kim decides she wants to quit smoking with the help of the Colorado Quitline, which offers free phone counseling.|
|Quitline Episode 2: Quit Day||With the help of Quitline counselor Diego DeSantiago, Kim decides to spend a week tapering down the number of cigarettes she's been smoking, and reaches Quit Day.|
|Quitline Episode 3: Five Days after Quit Day||Quitline counselor Diego gives Kim many pointers about what to expect and how to cope with withdrawal symptoms. Still, Kim struggles, five days after "Quit Date."|
|Quitline Episode 4: Seven Days After Quit Day||Seven days after her official "Quit Date," things are looking up for Kim, but as Quitline counselor Diego DeSantiago has warned, there are still many "triggers."|
|Quitline Episode 5: Kim and Diego's Final Session||It's been nearly three months since Kim decided to quit smoking with the help of Quitline Counsellor Diego DiSantiago. Has it worked? Did she kick the habit?|
Call-In Program on KGNU
Janaki: Well, we?ve heard from Kim about why she smokes and why she wants to quit. She has shared with us her ups and downs during her cessation process. She?s told us how she?s handled her triggers to smoking, from sobbing to taking a run with her dog. All this brought her to twelve days smoke-free. Now today, we hear how Kim is doing after six weeks. Then we go live to the KGNU studios, to Kim?s final counseling session with Diego. After that, we?ll open the phone lines for questions and comments.
Kim: Tomorrow marks the sixth week of my non-smoking. While I?ve missed it, I?ve had some tough times where I really, really think I could just have a cigarette in an instant and just be a smoker again, and other times where I despise the whole idea. I?m disgusted by the smell and other people who smoke. So it?s been easy in some ways and sometimes tough in others, but I feel like it?s quite an accomplishment. I don?t think I?ll go back to it. I hope and pray that I don?t. And especially in a recent light, with Peter Jennings dying of lung cancer and Dana Reeves being diagnosed with lung cancer as a non-smoker, it convinces me that my decision was timely and appropriate, because I do want to be healthy.
I?ve heard comments from people close to me that I look better and sparkle and shine, and I think a lot of it has to do with not having nicotine in my system and being so addicted. So I?m delighted, and I?m excited, and I feel better, and I?m more productive. I get a lot more done. I think I?ve gotten back an hour and a half in my day just from not smoking. So this will end my conversation. I hope to have another call maybe to the Quitline and thank them. I?m very appreciative of KGNU for this idea and this opportunity, and the National Jewish Organization for having the Quitline and the guidance from Diego, my counselor, and all the people who have supported me, my colleagues at work and my family members and my friends. Because I just feel really good having accomplished what I?ve accomplished.
Kim: Hi, Diego!
Diego: Hello, Kim, how are you doing today?
Kim: I?m fine! It?s great to meet you.
Diego: Same here. Congratulations!
Kim: Thank you. Almost three months!
Diego: Great! That is wonderful!
Kim: I only had one slip-up.
Diego: That?s not bad at all.
Kim: And I?m happy to say?I had been dreaming about cigarettes for nights on end, all kinds of big, small, yummy cigarettes, and so I had to have a cigarette. And I went and bought a pack, because I couldn?t find anyone to mooch off of, and I was kind of embarrassed to mooch, so I smoked the whole thing and inhaled it as deeply as I could, thinking, ?Oh! This feels so good!? And then I got sick as a dog for hours. I think it cured me. I didn?t dream about a cigarette again!
Diego: (laughs) Well, that?s great!
Kim: Yeah! Oh, it was disgusting! And it just smelled, everything smelled like smoke and oh! it?s a nasty smell.
Diego: You know, a lot of times we do need that little reassurance. We do have that in our mind, like, ?What would it be like to have one more cigarette?? after some time, and then we do have it and we find that it makes us sick, it makes us dizzy, and then it just kind of deters us from any future smoking. So that?s great. At least we got that out of our system, too.
Kim: Yeah, I know. It feels good to have that behind me. So gosh, it seem like it was so long ago (laughs) when I started this process! But it feels really good to be at this place, and oh! I?m so appreciative of your help, and so many people have been behind me.
Diego: You?re very welcome. That?s what we?re here for. We?re here to help. You know, quitting is probably the most difficult thing that anyone can do. It?s legal. It?s everywhere. They seem fairly harmless.
Diego: You know, you can step out of the workplace, have a cigarette, come back. You?re not impaired. You can still do your duties. And you know, they go well with everything. So it is extremely difficult to quit, so congratulations!
Kim: Thank you.
Diego: Three months is wonderful. Most people can?t go two, three hours without a cigarette.
Kim: Yeah. I think it?s been a really interesting transformation. I started smoking so late in my life that I had only smoked for four years. But I had kind of forgotten time, you know, it?s a huge time commitment, because you can?t really do a lot of other things while you?re smoking. Gosh, I?ve gotten back?I feel like I?m so much more productive, and I?m caught up on things and just more attached, you know, connected to work and people. It just feels good. I?m not always fidgeting and thinking about, ?Oh, I think I should have a cigarette now while I?m talking to this person.? I used to be, every time I would get on the telephone I would have to have a cigarette.
Kim: And so, I really think I was more attentive to the smoke and the nicotine than I was maybe to the conversation. And it was such a bad habit. And now I feel like I can really have a conversation with somebody and I?m not thinking, ?Oh, where are my cigarettes? Where?s a lighter? I need to go outside. Oh, my neighbors? windows are open, so I need to go in the front yard.? You know, there are all these little things that you do.
Diego: And you don?t really realize them until once you quit.
Kim: Oh, I know. You know what? All the embarrassing things come out. So one night I was in my kitchen and the window was open and one of the neighbors down the street was having a cigarette and I could smell it like instantly. I was like, ?Oh, they just lit up a cigarette!? And it was down the street. So then I felt so bad, because I live in a kind of close-knit town home community, and my neighbors on either side in the summer have their windows open, in the fall, and I?m thinking of all the times I would go in the back yard and they would close the window, but there was already smoke probably all over their house, or even if they closed the window, probably the smoke came in their house. So it?s just kind of the embarrassing things that I?ve been negatively impacting so many people?s lives, ooh! from the second-hand smoke. So?
Diego: That?s great. And a lot of times smokers don?t realize how much control it has over us, or the associations, like you said, you know, the phone would ring and it seems like an antenna on the radar goes off and you know, we?ve got to get the cigarettes before we answer the phone. So it does take control over our lives. It?s great that now you can realize all that and all those changes. So congratulations on quitting!
Kim: Thank you. I kind of needed to take my life back.
Diego: Certainly. And that?s another great thing about quitting, your sense of smell does improve.
Kim: Mm-hmm! Things smell really good, and food tastes really good. (laughs)
Kim: And I?ve been eating a lot of ice cream, just like you said.
Diego: And that?s OK.
Kim: I know, but it?s that big concern that everyone has: ?Oh, I?m going to gain weight.? So I made a commitment: I would roll out of bed every morning with my dog and we?d walk for an hour and then I?d walk at night with her, so I thought, ?Well, I can eat some ice cream, as long as I keep exercising.?
Diego: And that?s great. You do need something, you know, you do need a treat a lot of times. We use cigarettes as treats, as rewards. So it?s wonderful. And you know, you can always lose weight if that becomes an issue, but if you lose a lung or something, that?s pretty hard to replace.
Kim: Right. And just the whole?what are the other impacts, like, yes, lungs and heart, but are there other things that it?s affecting? I don?t know. It?s kind of scary. So I chew on straws a lot. I love straws. People always ask me what that pink or orange or green thing is in my mouth. I tell them it?s my cigarette. (laughs)
Diego: (laughs) And that?s great, you know, that we can have something to replace it. We definitely do need to replace the cigarettes with something, whether it?s people cutting up straws the size of a cigarette or you know, keeping something in your hands. Some people like mint toothpicks, celery sticks, pretzel sticks, cinnamon sticks?basically anything that kind of looks and kind of feels like a cigarette.
Kim: Oh, a cinnamon stick would be good.
Diego: Yeah, some people like mint toothpicks.
Kim: (chuckles) Well, I?ve really appreciated all of your help, and I feel like?I think there was a time early on where I would convince myself that I could smoke again someday, like, ?Oh, I?m going to smoke again some day,? or ?It?s not going to matter if I smoke some day, and I?ll just pick up a cigarette,? but I think, hopefully, that urge isn?t there any more.
Diego: How are the cravings overall now?
Kim: I don?t crave it. I think it?s the habit piece. I don?t crave the nicotine. I feel really good, so I don?t want to have that in my system, really. So they?ve kind of gone away.
Diego: Great! How?s the support?
Kim: Good! I think?you know, my family?s overwhelmed and really happy. The people at work are very supportive and excited. And you know, the more you talk about having quit, the more you find out a lot of people used to smoke and are quitters, too, so you get that encouragement from them that, ?Oh, I used to do that, and oh, it was hard, but good for you,? so it was really good.
Diego: Great. That?s a good thing. Let?s definitely keep the motivation and the support going. As they say, it?s just like any other addiction. You have a few cigarettes here and there, and the next thing you know, you?re right back to where you were. A lot of times we do end up?once we come back, we smoke a whole lot more than we did in the beginning. We try to kind of make up for all that ?lost time.?
Kim: Ooh, no, can?t do that!
Diego: And do keep rewarding yourself, keep reminding yourself of the four D?s: drink water, the delay, the deep breathing, and doing something else. And I?m not sure if you noticed, the cravings do go away, regardless whether you smoke or not. So they do go away, as long as we stay busy. And definitely let?s keep in mind the reasons we decided to quit. If we were to think how many cigarettes we have not smoked?
Kim: Oh, yeah!
Diego: ?during this whole time.
Kim: How much money I?ve saved. (laughs)
Diego: Yeah, how much money you?ve not spent on cigarettes, you know, it?s great.
Diego: So that is wonderful. We love to hear stories like that.
Kim: Yeah! So thank you so much.
Diego: You?re very welcome.
Kim: Gosh, I appreciate your encouragement and all of your good suggestions. I think that tapering-off plan was really effective. I think, you know, you always want to just quit cold turkey. But I think if you have a plan and you can reduce the number on a day-to-day basis and you kind of know what you?re going to do, it?s easier than just quitting cold?at least it was for me?than quitting cold turkey and having kind of the, ?OK, this day I?m going to stop, and here?s how I?m going to get there.? That first day was really hard.
Diego: Yeah, usually the first couple of days are the toughest ones.
Kim: OK, well, thanks!
Diego: Well, you?re very welcome!
Kim: And you take good care and keep counseling all those wonderful people out there in need of your help.
Diego: Great, you have a good day!
Kim: You, too. Bye-bye.
Janaki: We?re very, very happy to have you both here in the studio with us right now. We have Diego de Santiago, who is from the Colorado Quitline, which is associated with National Jewish Hospital, and we have?revealing the identity of our wonderful smoker/quitter, and that is Kim Bowman. Kim Bowman is the Development Director at the People?s Clinic. Kim has been our mystery person, Kim, who has shared with us her process of quitting. You had your last cigarette on July 2, is that right, Kim?
Kim: September 11 was the last one. (laughs)
Janaki: Oh, right, you had the one in between.
Kim: But prior to that it was July 2, yes.
Janaki: And now it?s been three months, except for the?
Kim: The one little trial, mm-hmm.
Janaki: So this is?congratulations! It?s wonderful. It?s amazing.
Kim: Thank you very much, Janaki.
Janaki: And we also have in the studio with us Kimberly Hills, who is with the Boulder County Health Department. She is the Tobacco Education and Prevention Specialist there. And so, welcome, Kimberly. We?re very happy to have you here on Connections.
Kimberly: It?s good to be here.
Janaki: I want to say to our listeners, the phone lines are open. If you want to call in and ask questions of any one of our people here about smoking, about quitting smoking, about anything at all you?d like to ask, the number is 303-442-4242. Well, you know, Kim, you talked about having a program. I?m very interested in knowing about, how are you going to prevent relapse? What are some of the things you?re going to do? Do you have any suggestions? Diego, you talked a little bit about it, but what are some other things that you?re going to?what if you have a slip, as you did? What are some things that can prevent you from going back to it?
Diego: Well, the thing about slipping, or even going with the full relapse, the good thing about it is, you can step back and see what actually caused that and you can say, ?Well, I was stressed out a little bit more than usual,? or being around a place that I shouldn?t have been that early in your quit attempt, and next time around we kind of narrow it down and say, ?OK, well, next time I?m not going to put myself in that situation,? and you know what made you slip. I kind of relate quitting to assembling a puzzle. You know, you may try one piece and it might not work. You might go through all of them before you find one that fits. But once you?ve got one, you kind of build on that one till you get it completed. This is the same thing with quitting. It does take some time. You do slip and fall at times. At least?like Kim, you know, she had dreams about cigarettes. She had one, and now she doesn?t dream about them any more. Yeah, those are some of the things we can do.
Kim: And I have to say, you know, ?I?m sorry,? to my friends. I have very few friends who smoke, but the ones who do I probably avoided during this time, just because I didn?t want that temptation or the ability to borrow a cigarette or whatever. So I?
Janaki: It was too tempting.
Kim: I think it is too tempting to have things around. You have to really change everything in your world, you know. Get rid of the lighters, get rid of the ashtrays, get rid of all the things that remind you of the ease of smoking. I even avoided the gas stations where I used to purchase cigarettes, because as I said, I only smoked a particular kind, and I thought that was so healthy because it was an ultra-light. But not all places sell that type of cigarette, so I would just go to those. So I had to even get gas at different places. (laughs)
Janaki: It was sort of interesting, Kim, we didn?t get to include this in your series here, but you talked about smoking American Spirits.
Kim: Mm-hmm. They?re so healthy.
Janaki: And that that was?and a particular kind of American Spirits, right?
Kim: American Spirits ultra-lights are what I smoked.
Janaki: Organic, too, even.
Kim: Well, I did, I went one day and the gentleman at the store was pushing the organic cigarettes. And I thought, ?Well, isn?t that great?? But they weren?t ultra-lights, they were lights. And lights are even a little strong for me. But I thought, ?Now, isn?t that great! I can have an organic cigarette that?s natural. I?m sure it doesn?t have all the four thousand chemicals that all the other cigarettes do.? So you kind of?you?re in denial and you convince yourself that you?re doing the best possible health-related thing for yourself by picking a particular brand.
Janaki: Why don?t we take a call from one of our callers to see what they have to say? OK, go ahead. I didn?t get your first name.
Dan: My name is Dan.
Janaki: Dan. OK, go ahead, Dan.
Dan: And I want to congratulate Kim on her quitting for?it?s a very hard thing to do, and I support her whole-heartedly. I smoked for thirty-three years, at least a pack a day. When I first started smoking, my older brother, who is a couple years older than me, was given for a birthday present a carton of Lucky Strikes, which is probably one of the strongest cigarettes anyone could smoke. So that was the culture that many of us grew up in, of course. And what finally got it for me is, I do relate very much to the habit aspect of it. Smoking a cigarette while you?re on the telephone, while you?re maybe doing some other bodily functions, perhaps, on and on and on?it?s ingrained in our psyche. But what finally got me, and got me to quit, was understanding that it?s not a habit, it?s an addiction.
Dan: Nicotine basically breaks down in the body within minutes, and the body craves another hit. So once I figured out that I?m not actually combating a habit, I?m combating an addiction, that changed the whole dynamic for me.
Kim: Dan, congratulations to you that you quit, and I think that addict aspect of it was really scary to me, too, because you think, ?I?m stronger and smarter than this.? But the addiction is so overwhelming?
Dan: It?s insidious.
Kim: Mm-hmm. So how long have you been a quitter?
Dan: A little over two years.
Kim: Oh, that?s great.
Dan: And I have?the ashtrays are out, like you were talking about. There?s nothing, there?s no signpost here saying I?m a cigarette smoker. I needed all those visuals out of the way. Now, what worked for me was, my niece and I quit together.
Diego: Oh, great!
Dan: And so the support is vital. I agree with that. Now, what got me to quit was?and I?ll make this brief?was a book by a gentleman named Allen Carr. You may know the book. He smoked roughly about thirty-five years, about four to five packs a day.
Kim: Oh, my gosh!
Dan: He put out a cigarette one day and told his wife he was going to cure the world of smoking. His wife said, ?That?s nice, dear.? But as it turns out, his book has been around for, oh, about fifteen years, and he?s responsible for millions of people quitting. He takes you through the book, he says, ?Don?t even quit until you get to the end of the book.? His name is Allen Carr, and it?s called Easy Way to Stop Smoking, and it?s put out, if I may say, by Barnes and Noble.
Kim: That?s great.
Janaki: Thank you for that suggestion. We really appreciate it.
Dan: And once again, you?ve got my support. It?s fantastic!
Kim: Thank you.
Janaki: Thanks for your call.
Dan: All right.
Janaki: OK, we?ll go now to Debra. Hi! Go ahead.
Debra: Hi. I?m a quitter also, many years ago, but a couple things. One about dreams. Here?s a little tip for working with dreams. The theory about working with dreams is from Fritz Perls, a Gestalt therapist, which really helps me whenever I have a scary dream or a very powerful dream. What you do is, you act out in your mind, or verbally. Every person and every place in your dream is a part of you, and you own it. So like in that dream of the cigarette, you say, ?OK, I?m the person craving that cigarette. I need that cigarette.? Then you be the cigarette, talking back to you. ?Well, I?m here. I?m just a piece of material. I?m sold in this part of the world. It costs whatever it is. You can buy me or not. I don?t care.? And then you act out all the people in the dream talking to you: ?Don?t smoke. Do smoke.? And you own these people and you talk to each other in your dream. It?s a way of getting the strength from this dream. It?s just a tip. It?s something I use when I have overpowering dreams. The other thing is that helped me when I stopped smoking was, we used to have this glass jar of fancy toothpicks on the table. We?d take our toothpicks up after each meal.
Kim: Oh, that?s great.
Debra: We?d carry them with us. We became connoisseurs of fancy toothpicks. And then I just want to say congratulations, and just think of all the other people you?re helping, on the radio and talking. Thank you for your strength. You helped other people who are dealing with other addictions, not just smoking.
Kim: Thank you, Debra. I appreciate that.
Janaki: Thanks for your call, Debra, really. And just to remind the listeners that you can hear the series of Quitline episodes that we?ve had on KGNU by going to the KGNU website. It is there available for you to listen to. OK, we?ll go to another caller, Samhita.
Samhita: Yeah, hi! I just wanted to inform you about a service that we have in Boulder. We have an affordable community acupuncture clinic that offers the NADA protocol that is actually performed in prisons systems and everywhere in the US. It?s a year acupuncture that is used to treat any addictions of heroin, smoking, food, and we offer that at a very low cost.
Janaki: That?s great, thank you. That?s a good suggestion. And Kimberly, you wanted to add to that?
Kimberly: Yeah. I just wanted to let everybody know that there are ways that you can find out what the quit resources are in your city and county. One way that you can do that is to go to the Quitnet website, which is
If you enter as a guest there, you can click on ?Resources,? and then it?ll get you down to finding a program near you. You can put your county in there, or your city, or your zip code, and all of the resources will come up that are in your county. You can also call your county health department. Nearly every one has a tobacco control program. Ask for the tobacco control program, and they can give you the resources that are in your town as well. As Diego was saying, one size doesn?t fit all. It?s really?different types of quitting resources work for different people, and so there?s a number of different ways that people can quit. For Boulder County we have a Quit Smoking Guide. You can call us at our Tobacco Education and Prevention Program. Our phone number is 303-413-7567. We can send out our Quit Smoking Guide to let you know what the resources are in Boulder County.
Kim: I think it?s great?this is Kim again?that we have so many resources in our community as well as within the state, and they?re all free. So in terms of affordability, there are opportunities out there for people to access help. It?s fun to be here with Kimberly this morning because we worked together on the tobacco tax initiative last year with Chuck Stoud [?] and others at the Health Department, and they didn?t know I was a smoker. And I was working really hard on behalf of my organization and the community and the state to get that initiative passed. Increase the tax on cigarettes so that hopefully people would quit, because it was expensive, but also to enable health and human service agencies and places within our state to have increased funding opportunities to do tobacco cessation and to support people?s health care needs. So it was kind of embarrassing when it all kind of came together that, ?Oh, gosh, now they?re going to know I?m a smoker.?
And I work closely with the Health Department in my job, and our organization does, so here we sit today and I?ve overcome this thing, but a lot of it has to do with, you know, our own community?s efforts to help people quit smoking. And in Boulder I think we?re fortunate that most people don?t smoke, you know. Maybe there are a lot of younger people at the college level that are smoking, but for the most part, people don?t smoke in our community. So it?s an easy place to live, I think, and be encouraged to stop smoking.
Janaki: And we?d love also to hear from anybody from Denver. We are beaming out to Denver, and it?s probably a different situation there, but I?ll bet you there are just as many, certainly the Colorado Quitline serves Denver.
Diego: All of Colorado.
Janaki: And the whole state. And it is free. And there probably are services connected with health departments all around the state.
Kimberly: The health departments don?t do direct services, but we certainly have a list of the resources and can let everybody know what those are. However, having said that, at Boulder County Public Health, we have a person on our staff, Molly Hanson, who will do one-on-one sessions, just to?it?s just an individual one-on-one single session really to talk about the resources and just get somebody going with a plan of getting ready to quit.
Kim: That?s amazing.
Janaki: Great. Why don?t we take another call? Steve, from Denver. Go ahead, Steve.
Steve: Hi, Kim. I just wanted to congratulate you. I?m a quitter for twenty-two-and-a-half years, and I don?t have dreams about cigarettes. I have nightmares that I started smoking again. But I just wanted to wish you luck.
Kim: Oh, thank you so much!
Steve: And keep up the great work.
Kim: Thanks, Steve, and congratulations to you!
Steve: Well, thank you.
Kim: And it?s a good thing those are nightmares! (laughter)
Steve: Let?s hope you have those kind, too!
Kim: I hope so, too. Thank you for calling.
Steve: You bet. Good luck.
Janaki: And we?ll go to another caller from Boulder. His name is Barry. Go ahead, Barry.
Barry: Good morning. This is Barry Erdman. I want to thank all you for putting on this series. It?s great to have so much exposure.
Kim: Hi, Barry!
Barry: Hi. And as some of you know, I?ve been a participant with the program that the county has been continuing to promote to help people to quit smoking. And I just wanted to?in following up on some of the other callers and the comments that are made, there?s lots of resources out there, perhaps more than what the Health Department has listed in their database, because of their restrictions. There?s many, many kinds of approaches, as there?s many kinds of smokers who smoke for different reasons. The Quitline does great for some people. Acupuncture does help for some and not for others. And so on and so forth. And so, while one caller said that it?s the addictive piece that?s so difficult, there?s a psychological component that sometimes is even more difficult than the chemical addictive influences.
Barry: So I just wanted to put a plug in to let people know that if they?ve tried one method and it doesn?t particularly work for them, it doesn?t mean that they can?t quit. It just means that there may be a better match for what it is that they?re trying to accomplish. Because the way that the method works may not be a good match for what their needs are.
Kim: In my personal experience, the psychological aspect is so tough, because you see cigarettes everywhere you go. You see people smoking in movies, or on a TV show or whatever, and those are the kinds of things that your mind goes, ?Oh, gosh, remember what that was like? Wouldn?t that be great? Oh, I need to go have a cigarette right now.? So that?s the hard thing to overcome.
Diego: That?s one of the things that we try to do at the Colorado Quitline. We try to specialize and individualize the counseling and try to, like Barry said, match them up to the right quitting plan. So we look at associations, triggers, basically the kind of smoker they are. From there we try to direct them in the right way.
Barry: I?d like to also add that there are plenty of smokers in Boulder County. It?s a delusion that we are a non-smoking community. Boulder County goes into Longmont, for example, where there?s people that smoke more freely than you see people downtown. And there are closeted smokers in Boulder all over the place.
Kim: I was one of them.
Barry: And so I think it?s not fair to say that there?s not many smokers in Boulder. And the last thing, I wanted to just make a comment about the fact that there is a cognitive approach, which is what the Quitline does, which is educational and it helps to rethink your strategies. When it come to other kinds of psychological components that people wind up smoking for, for example, they may smoke out of anxiety, social anxiety, or because of loneliness, and just quitting the smoking, which is important and I think necessary, doesn?t necessarily always address the other psychological pieces that go along with what the incentives are for smoking, which is more the habit piece. So that there?s another plug there for taking extra approaches in addition to just the quitting to address what might be going on. Thank you.
Janaki: Barry, thank you so much for your call, very much. I just want to remind our listeners that you are listening to a special edition of Connections this morning. I?m Janaki LeFils. In the studio with us with have our smoking quitter. Her name is Kim Bowman. She?s been the feature of a series of episodes all week. And now we find out that in fact she has quit in fact for three months.
Janaki: One slip, but quit for three months. And also with us in the studio is Diego de Santiago, who is from the Colorado Quitline, and he?s been Kim?s counselor throughout this process. And then also we have Kimberly Hills, who is the Tobacco Education Prevention Specialist from Boulder County Health Department. We encourage your calls. The phone lines are open. We?re at 303-442-4242. You know, one thing I would like to talk about, and maybe this is totally well known, but it?s amazing to find out what?s in tobacco, other than tobacco.
Janaki: It?s just really shocking. We have arsenic and ammonia and acetone, carbon, cyanide, formaldehyde, methanol, and toluene. This is shocking. And no wonder that we know, of course, that the long-term danger of smoking is certainly lung cancer. But you know, some of the short-term risks I didn?t know either. It?s impotence, infertility, and increased carbon monoxide level in the blood. This is shocking.
Diego: People do start to age a little quicker also.
Kim: More wrinkles?
Diego: More wrinkles.
Kimberly: And just talking about the chemicals that are in smoke, there?s a lot of chemicals, four thousand, actually, that are in the smoke that comes out of a cigarette. Sixty of those are carcinogens. So it?s the danger of the smoke you?re breathing in and also the danger of the second-hand smoke.
Kim And I think as a smoker you don?t ever pay attention to any of that stuff. You don?t want to know. But as a former smoker, you start reading this material and I think it?s even more helpful to know. You think, ?Oh, my gosh, I can?t do that to myself again.?
Kimberly: And so many of the chemicals really are to enhance the nicotine uptake, you know, enhance the addiction, really.
Kimberly: So it?s?you know, they want to addict their customers so that they have them for as long as they?re going to live, which oftentimes isn?t very long.
Janaki: We have a caller. Why don?t we take a call from Sarah from Boulder? Go ahead, Sarah.
Sarah: Good morning. Thank you for your programming. I?m sorry I haven?t heard the earlier episodes. I did have a question. Because I?m on the CU campus regularly, I see so many young women smoking. I associated this, a lot of it, with their birth control forays into trying to adapt to college life, and I see a lot of young women do this through Wardenburg and Planned Parenthood. And I think smoking is an outcome of that because of the fear of weight gain. And of course it?s cool to some people. Do you have any information about those relationships and how to address that?
Kimberly: I know that at Wardenburg Student Health Center they do have, in the Wellness division of Wardenburg, quit-smoking classes?actually, one-on-one counseling for CU students, staff, and faculty. But I don?t really know the relationship between birth control and?I?m not sure what your reference was about birth control. I mean, there are many dangers?
Sarah: I think it?s the issue of the weight gain that is?I don?t know if that?s continued to be a myth, but I think that starts a lot of young women smoking. And I guess the?it isn?t?their interest isn?t in quitting, is my concern. Their interest is taking up a way of weight control.
Diego: I was just going to say, you know, a good way to control weight is just drinking water. A lot of times we think we?re hungry, but we?re really not, we?re just thirsty. So drinking water, not only does it help out with cravings, and once you quit, flush out your system, get rid of tars and chemicals, but also helps you regulate the weight. If somebody quits, on the average they might gain five to ten pounds. So it?s really not a whole lot.
Kim: But I think, Sarah, too, the important thing is that, you know, I can say as a smoker, it does suspend your appetite, and it does give you that high, and you don?t taste food the same way. I remember times feeling like I wasn?t even that hungry. So I think there is a realistic association between cigarettes and weight loss or keeping your weight down. And I hear that older women, too, like, in their forties, who are starting to put on weight just naturally, that they start smoking, too, as an effort to kind of keep their weight down. So I think there is a really bad association there, and it?s too bad that our society puts such an emphasis on being so, like, almost chronically thin that you?it?s not about health. It should be more about health. The birth control aspect, I really want to push that there?s so many warnings on birth control pills about smoking and taking birth control at the same time, in think that that?s such a risk that people shouldn?t be in denial about the potential health risks associated with that.
Diego: And just to say, nicotine does speed up our metabolism, so naturally we do tend to be a little slimmer as smokers. Also, like Kim said, it does suppress our appetite, too.
Kim: But I had a nurse tell me once, she said, ?If you don?t give up smoking for any health reasons, at least do it for vanity?s sake.? Because all it does, I can?t remember?she described it in my capillaries in my face, and it will age you faster. So while you might look really thin, you might look really old. So I think in terms of vanity and why women would choose to smoke to stay thin. I think you have to also think about how you?re going to look and feel looking at yourself in the mirror.
Kimberly: And I think the tobacco industry takes advantage of that by marketing to women with images of very thin women. You don?t see the wrinkled part of it on their ads.
Janaki: And not to mention yellow teeth. It certainly does affect your teeth, the color of your teeth, and your gums.
Kim: And your breath, you know.
Janaki: And your fingers.
Kim: Your fingernails.
Janaki: Sarah, thank you for your call.
Sarah: Oh, thank you for your program. I appreciate it.
Janaki: Yes, that was a good point.
Janaki: OK, well, you know, we should be talking a little bit more about some of the things you did, Kim, to keep yourself from smoking. I know that you talked in the sessions about running with your dog, that exercise was pretty important to you.
Kim: Yeah, and I think that that was what I chose. I just?because I didn?t want to gain weight, and I didn?t want to, you know, take on maybe another addiction or another bad habit. So I just thought, ?Well, I?m just going to exercise.? And I think quitting in the time I did, in the summertime, when the days were longer, enabled me to get out and walk in the morning and late at night. I would try to go for little walks during the day. So I think it?s all kind of part of that plan. Maybe had I waited to quit in winter, when I didn?t have that opportunity, I might not have had the same results. So I think timing?s kind of everything. But not to say that people who are thinking about quitting now shouldn?t begin right now to make a plan. And the Quitline, the plan, I think, is the best part.
Janaki: So the exercise was really important.
Kim: Exercise is important.
Janaki: What about the cravings? What did you do when you had those times of cravings? You had your straw.
Kim: I had my straw, but like Diego said, they would go away. So I would drink water, or?oh, one of the things I found really helpful was having candy, like sour candy, like Jolly Ranchers, or Altoids now makes different sour candies. And that would, I found, really take the craving away, having something really sour in my mouth kind of like jolts your system. And then after a while I wouldn?t really crave the cigarette any more. So I would encourage people to buy those kinds of things. And you only need one. You don?t want one that will go forever, but I found that to be really helpful. And then just finding those little things to do other than. And it would pass, you know, it?d a few minutes, but then it would pass. Or getting busy. I just tried to get busy doing different things around my house. I would say, ?OK, I?m going to go clean out that junk drawer that I keep overlooking.? Or, ?I?m going to clean my refrigerator. I?m going to do something constructive to just take my mind off of smoking.? And it worked. You know, I would say, ?OK, I needed to clean my office. I?m going to go clean a drawer in my office instead of going outside to have the cigarette.?
Diego: And what Kim?s talking about it what we refer to as the four Ds: Deep breathing, do something else, delay, and drink water, basically. So definitely staying busy is a key, because a lot of times it seems that the second we have some down time, the first thing that come to mind is wanting to smoke. So definitely the busier we stay, the better it?s going to be.
Kimberly: I would just like to say, too, that most of the county health departments have quit kits with most of the things that you?re talking about in them, the straws, sour candies.
Janaki: Quit kits, that?s fantastic. Gee, when I quit thirty years ago, there was none of that. There was just food. (laughter) Why don?t we take a call from Cathryn from Lyons? Go ahead, Cathryn.
Cathryn: Hi, good morning, how are you?
Kim: Hi, Cathryn.
Janaki: Good morning.
Cathryn: Hi. Kim, congratulations.
Kim: Thank you.
Cathryn: The reason why I?m calling, I actually have never been a smoker, but I do?I heard a snippet of you with Diego just yesterday, I think it was, and you had a very, very telling comment that really struck me, and that is when you said?you were with talk Diego and you said, ?I?m doing well. I?m hanging in there. It?s been several weeks. I?m doing OK.? You said, ?But I really miss my friends.? And I just really?that struck me, because I thought, you know, it?s not just making a decision of having a healthier lifestyle. But you were making a decision of?I mean, you were changing a lot of things, and that incorporates the people that you hang out with and all of that. I was just wondering, how did you resolve that with your friends? Because all of a sudden you?re not doing what they?re doing.
Kim: And I don?t know if you heard me say earlier that I did avoid some of my friends who are smokers while I was going through the process. I just, you know, couldn?t put myself in that place with them. But not many of my friends are smokers. And in that comment to Diego, I was referring to my friends the cigarettes.
Cathryn: Oh! (laughs) I?m sorry!
Kim: Because the addiction, it becomes everything to you. That was the thing that was there when Barry was referring earlier to the loneliness, you know, when you?re alone at night and there?s nobody, you know, you don?t want to pick up the phone and call somebody or whatever. I would sit on my deck and have a cigarette and that would be my friend. My dog and I would sit out there and that would be my companion.
Cathryn: I misunderstood that. It just really sort of made it telling that people?it?s a big mountain to climb when you have to really, really change.
Kim: And it?s hard, too, because some of your friends say, ?Oh, well, you know, if you smoke that?s OK.
Cathryn: Or, ?Just one.?
Kim: ?It?s OK to pick up a cigarette every now and then.? And those are the hard things to hear, because that just gives you permission to not carry out your desire. And so you just have to ignore some of those comments. One of my friends?it was funny, we were going somewhere and I said, ?I want to quit because I want to feel better and have more energy,? and blah-blah-blah. And she said, ?What if none of that happens?? It was like my second day of quitting, maybe even my first day, and I thought, ?Oh, my gosh, I can?t believe she?s saying that to me.? Because to me, that meant, ?You?re not going to change. Nothing good?s going to come of this, so you might as well just keep smoking.? And that?s the last thing I wanted to hear, so I got a little bit angry and thought, ?Well, I need encouragement now. I don?t need anyone to try to get me off of my plan.
Cathryn: Yes, that?s very telling. Well, thank you very much, Kim, and I had one quick question. I love incense. I was just wondering, what are a repercussions of second-hand smoke from incense? Because I?m not a smoker, but good heavens, I have incense going quite a bit. So I was just wondering what the repercussions of?if I?m ignoring something that could be a potential problem. Because smoke is smoke.
Kimberly: Mm-hmm. With second-hand smoke from cigarettes, there are a lot of known chemicals in that second-hand smoke that make that quite dangerous. So I think, you know, smoke of any kind, too much of it certainly is not going to be good for your lungs, but as far as specific information about repercussions about smoke from incense, I?m not really sure about that.
Kim: I?m not sure either.
Cathryn: Right. Because obviously, if it?s just to perfume a room and then it?s gone, that?s fine and that?s mostly what it is. But when your show was on this morning, I was in the bathroom getting ready, and it?s a very small bathroom, and I had a little incense going and it was very smoky. And that?s when you want to step away. It?s like, this is smoke. So you want to step away, and I was thinking, ?Gosh, what are the repercussions? Here I am being very good about not having a cigarette, but then again, I have incense going.?
Kim: You might want to check with the American Lung Association, and organizations like that. They might be able to help you find some resources that?ll give you that information.
Diego: Or a lot of times just calling the company that makes them to find out some of the ingredients. I think that?s a real key to what kind of smoke it is. And with a lot of carcinogens and bad chemicals in cigarettes, we definitely know that?s harmful.
Janaki: All right. Well, Cathryn, thank you for your call.
Cathryn: Thank you very much.
Janaki: Let?s go to Ann from Denver.
Kim: Hi, Ann!
Ann: Yes, hello. Congratulations to Kim.
Kim: Thank you.
Ann: And I just wanted to say that I?m calling because I think I?m so different. I stopped smoking about twenty years ago, and at that point I realized that it really was not an addiction, it was a habit. And one of the things that I did to break the habit that I?d heard about was to pick up your package of cigarettes when you want one and throw it across the room. Because then you feel foolish going to pick it up. You think, ?Oh, this is ridiculous.? So anyhow, that?s about the only thing that I ever really did. I just got bored with smoking, and so that was wonderful.
Kim: And did you just stop cold turkey, all by yourself?
Ann: No, I just stopped really gradually, I just got bored. And I still haven?t really quit. I can still smoke if I want to, but I don?t want to any more.
Kim: Oh, good!
Diego: That?s great.
Janaki: Great, Ann!
Ann: Let?s see?oh, and about the attitudes, that is very true. Because one of the times I do still smoke is if I go to Spain, because they make the cigarettes over there without additives, and they say that the only thing that is really harmful to you?that?s what they say in Spain?is really the additives, and that the tobacco itself is really not that bad. And they certainly taste better.
Kim: Well, in Europe, too, the culture, there?s so many smokers in Europe. I lived there years ago, and I?ve traveled there a lot. It?s easy to smoke in Europe. In fact, that?s probably where I got started again. And actually, my brother, my older brother, who just quit after about fifteen years of smoking, he told me that he started smoking on a trip we took to Europe years ago because we were kind of goofing around and trying to be European and smoking.
Ann: Sure, mm-hmm.
Kim: And then he just kind of picked up the habit when he came back to the States and smoked for a long time. So that?s kind of?I didn?t know that that?s why he started smoking, and that kind of blew me away. And then I did the same thing. Four years ago I was in Europe and having fun and smoking cigarettes.
Ann: I used to just bring a package home, and when they were gone, I?d think, ?Well, I can?t get any more of those.? It was over. (laughs)
Kimberly: Ann, I think the point needs to be made that just because a certain cigarette advertises itself as not having additives does not make it a safer cigarette at all.
Ann: Oh, no!
Kimberly: Yeah. So any of those cigarettes out there are extremely unsafe.
Ann: Oh, true, true.
Janaki: Ann, thank you for your call.
Kim: Thanks, Ann, congratulations.
Ann: I just want to mention that thing that I really don?t think that it has to be an addiction at the base of it, and if I had known that, I might have been able to quit sooner. But I kept thinking it?s an addiction.
Diego: And certainly, Ann, that?s one of the things, it can be an addiction, it can be a habit, it can be?you know, you can smoke for a thousand million reasons.
Ann: I know, it can be anything. OK, thank you very much.
Kim: Thank you.
Janaki: Thank you, Ann. Let?s go to Bob from Broomfield. Hello, Bob.
Bob: Hello. I just want to say that when you?re around people that smoke, you usually pick it up.
Bob: Because I got drafted in the Vietnam thing, and everybody smoked. And then the PX gave you the cigarettes without taxes, and it was really cheap, so everybody was smoking. And the same thing when you?re out in the field, you know, your C-rations or K-rations, whatever they were, had cigarettes in them.
Diego: I can relate to that.
Kim: Diego was in the military.
Diego: I was in the military, and certainly when you?re out in the field pulling guard duty, two or three in the morning, they certainly help you stay awake. They certainly give you something to do. So they always come in handy, especially in the field.
Diego: When I was in the military, when we heard the word that we were going out to the field, it was, ?Let?s go to the PX and load up with as many cartons of cigarettes,? because you definitely don?t want to run out of cigarettes out on the field.
Bob: Yeah. Well, that?s the way I got hooked, anyway. And I gave it up.
Kim: Good, good for you, Bob, congratulations.
Janaki: Thanks for your call, Bob.
Janaki: Let?s go now to Joe from Boulder. Go ahead, Joe.
Joe: Good morning, and congratulations to Kim again.
Kim: Thanks, Joe.
Joe: And everybody that?s attempting or completing their quitting process. I smoked for about twenty-five years. And I have a question about second-hand smoke somewhat related to what Bob said. I?ve had this discussion at HR at my work. At every exit there are smokers. I asked particularly just for one space for non-smokers, and it?s been two years, and I still don?t have it. So consequently I don?t take breaks or go outside at all unless I walk away from the building. I would like you to comment on that. I?ll take it off-line because I?ve got to rush off on my bike. But I also have one more question: Could you repeat the website again so I?ll know where to tell my friend at work to connect to?
Janaki: Absolutely. We will do that.
Joe: OK, thanks a lot!
Kim: Thank you.
Janaki: Thank you.
Kimberly: I wanted to ask him where he works.
Janaki: I think we lost him. I think he left.
Kimberly: It really does depend on where he works and what kind of smoke-free policy they have in that community. If it is in Broomfield, I can?t remember the specifics of that ordinance, but some ordinances do have a perimeter rule where you can?t smoke within twenty-five feet or a reasonable distance outside of a public place, including a work site. So those types of policies and ordinances are really important to include all of those kinds of components, a perimeter, work sites, bars, restaurants, so that we?re protecting all people that are currently walking through that second-hand smoke, and certainly protecting workers in those places. So it just depends on what are the components of the ordinance in his community or where he works.
Janaki: And the website. We?ll do that actually at the end of the show, but go ahead now.
Kimberly: The website of Quitnet is
And what you?ll get when you go there is actually sort of the internet corollary, I guess, of the Colorado Quitline. It?s a place where if people want to try to quit smoking through the internet, they can get support through chat rooms and forums and quit buddies. They will help set up a plan. They also have a calculator showing you how much you?re saving over the course of a year by quitting, expert advice, advice on medications and so on. So that?s sort of the internet way, if people want to do it that way instead.
Janaki: OK. Let?s go to a call from Pua. Pua from Boulder, go ahead. Are you there? Hello? I don?t know what happened to Pua. Are you there? No, I guess not. Well, then let?s go to our next caller. Go ahead. Do you have a question? Hello?
Janaki: Well, I don?t know what?s going on with that. But at any rate, we may have lost some of our callers. One of the things that I wanted to talk about is what happens to your body when you quit smoking. You know, you talked earlier about even twenty minutes after quitting, Diego, you talked about the blood pressure decreases and the pulses drop. But now, what about?what happens at two weeks to three months? What goes on in your body then?
Diego: Some people might start coughing up a bit, hacking up phlegm, maybe even black stuff to go along with that. That?s actually a good thing. It just lets you know your lungs are starting to regenerate nerve endings and kicking out tars and chemicals so lung capacity expands. A lot of times smokers have cold feet and cold hands. So circulation would improve around that time, too.
Janaki: Yes, yes.
Diego: And that?s a big one, too, for a lot of people.
Kim: I noticed that change with the hands and the feet, the circulation feels better. The coughing, the phlegminess was there early on. It?s kind of nice to feel?I was feeling like my voice sounded different as a smoker. There was this kind of wheezing thing that would happen when I would breathe, just kind of that stuff in my throat. So I feel like that?s all gone, and that feels good.
Diego: And it?s important, you know?some of these changes, a lot of times we?ve gotten callers that say, ?Well, I didn?t feel like this when I smoked, I didn?t cough or anything.? So they go back to the smoking, you know, thinking that it?s something bad. And it?s actually something good. It almost seems like your body takes a step backwards before it actually starts feeling a lot better. You might feel sluggish during the first few days or even the first couple of weeks.
Janaki: Absolutely. And also, after a year, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is decreased in half, which is amazing.
Kim: Nine more months, I only have nine more months! (laughter)
Diego: That?s great. I mean, the body is an amazing thing. We?ve just got to give it a chance for it to heal.
Janaki: Absolutely. It is. It takes a little time for some of the things, but that?s still fantastic, decreasing it by half. Let?s take a call from Don from Westminster. Don, are you there?
Don: Yes, I am.
Janaki: Oh, good, I?m so glad. Go ahead, Don.
Kim: Hi, Don!
Don: In 1984, I was driving to work and I had all the classic symptoms of a myocardial infarction, a heart attack. What did I do? I reached for a cigarette.
Don: I concluded that I was having a heart attack. I grabbed the cigarettes and threw them across the car. It was the last cigarette I ever had.
Janaki: That?s a dramatic way to quit.
Kim: Did you drive yourself to the hospital?
Don: Actually, I drove myself to work.
Kim: Oh, my gosh.
Don: Because there were trained MPs there and they stabilized me and then got me into Northern Colorado Medical Center and just by the grace of God, I made it.
Kim: Here you are, twenty-one years later.
Don: Here I am, twenty-one years later. Three more heart attacks.
Kim: Did you smoke again after that first one?
Don: No way!
Kim: Oh, gosh!
Don: That first heart attack, they came out from the emergency room and told my wife, who had my?let?s see, two-year-old daughter and my five-year-old son, to go in and say goodbye to me because I was not going to make it through the night.
Janaki: Goodness gracious!
Janaki: You?re lucky to be here.
Don: Yeah, I fooled them all
Kim: Well, congratulations on surviving all those heart attacks. You?re a strong man.
Don: Yes. Stubborn. (laughter)
Janaki: That helps, too. Don, thank you for your call.
Kimberly: Oh, congratulations on being here!
Don: Thank you very much. And it goes to show you that mental power has a lot to do with it, because I never once thought that I was going to die.
Kim: Oh, wow.
Janaki: Good for you!
Don: And it?s been a long, hard road, but here I am today, still upright and on the right side of the grass! (laughter)
Janaki: Congratulations, Don, and thank you so much for your call. We?re going to go to one other phone caller, June from Wheatridge, if you have a rather quick call, June. OK?
June: I?d like to give another testimony. My daughter?s twenty-five. When I was young, twenty, I went to the bus stop. I felt I was pregnant. I knew I was pregnant, and I felt her move in me, that fluttery feeling when you?re only maybe six weeks along. And when I felt that, I realized, as a twenty-year-old women, when they tell you you?re pregnant?but when I felt that flutter, I took that cigarette and threw it in the gutter and watched it burn, and that was the last time I ever touched a cigarette.
Kim: That?s great!
June: And I just want to say that if it?s about a child, just decide and just stop. And don?t start again, just nurse the baby and go through your life and never touch it again.
Janaki: Very good point, June. Thank you so much for calling.
June: Thank you!
Janaki: Well, let?s summarize how people can contact all of you and the listeners if they want to quit can call. Diego, how do they get ahold of the Quitline?
Diego: Just our toll-free number, 1-800-639-7848, or 1-800-QUIT-NOW. And we?re there seven days a week, Monday through Friday from 7 in the morning until 9 p.m. That?s Mountain time. Saturday and Sunday from 8 till 4:30. So they can certainly call us at any point. We do have all services in different languages, also, and we do have bilingual counselors, too.
Janaki: Wonderful. That was Diego de Santiago from the Colorado Quitline, who?s been our guest all week long. Thank you, Diego.
Kim: ?Thank you, Diego,? is right!
Diego: You?re welcome.
Janaki: Let?s go to Kimberly Hills. Kimberly, can you tell us a little bit more about, just quickly, some ways to reach Boulder County or any other health clinics?
Kimberly: You bet. The name of our program at Boulder County Public Health is the Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership. We really serve as I guess a clearinghouse in a way. If you call us and we don?t have the resources to help you quit or information about how you can help a family member or friend quit, we will get you hooked up with whatever resources that is. The number you would call there is 303-413-7567. And then again, to get resources, find about quitting resources in your county, go to the Quitnet:
Or call your county health department and they should have a listing.
Janaki: Thank you, Kimberly Hills, who is the Tobacco Education and Prevention Specialist for the Boulder County Health Department. And we want to thank especially Kim Bowman, our wonderful person who has shared her experiences with us in her quitting process.
[Transcription prepared by Sandy Adler, Adler Enterprises LLC, Lafayette, Colorado]