Lindsay resident Renee Fitzgerald had her first cigarette at age 11 but quit smoking after watching her her aunt die of lung cancer 2015.
“I figured it would take something major to get me to quit smoking,” admits Fitzgerald who had been smoking for nearly three decades. “Watching the deterioration of my aunt from the cancer was horrible. And then on her deathbed, she said to me: ‘Renee, for the love of God, quit smoking’.”
Fitzgerald took the advice and “butt out” for good on the first day of 2016, only a few months after the death of her aunt who had also been a long time smoker. Fitzgerald says she has been smoke-free ever since, and has noticed an improvement in her health: “No more inhaler, no more wheezing, it’s been incredible.”
Fitzgerald is sharing her smoke-free success story with other people to commemorate World No-Tobacco Day being marked this Wednesday May 31st. “It’s very hard to quit, but worth all the effort,” she notes.
Fitzgerald says it was her aunt’s battle that gave her the courage to quit smoking but it was the help she received from the smoking cessation program and the Community Health Centre (CHC)that helped her achieve her goal of being smoke free.
The CHC offers one-on-one counselling to help their clients quit smoking, as well as access to free nicotine replacement therapy (including the patch and gum). Fitzgerald says she took advantage of all these resources, and regularly worked with Yvette Roy, a Registered Nurse at the CHC, to come up with a quit plan and develop coping techniques to resist the tobacco temptation. “I took advantage of every resource to quit, and I would encourage others to do the same,” she says.
The smoking cessation program at CHC is part of the Central East Association for Smoking Elimination (CEASE). CEASE is a network of health and social agencies in the City of Kawartha Lakes that supports people trying to quit smoking. Representatives from the Community Care Health and Care Network’s Community Health Centre (CHC), Ross Memorial Hospital, Kawartha North Family Health Team, City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, Canadian Mental Health Association and Remedy’s Rx on Kent are all part of the support group.
CEASE Kawartha members are here to help people navigate the system so they can find the quit-smoking program that best fits their needs. “CEASE members share resources and stay current on the best practices to help people quit smoking,” says Dearbhla Lynch, a CEASE member and Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Our core belief is that anyone motivated to give up smoking can quit with the right advice, resources and support.”
To find out more about CEASE Kawartha and local quit-smoking programs, call (705) 324-3569, ext. 2204.