Today Grace Vazquez can breathe easier.
Vazquez, director of career outreach for Country Meadows, wanted to quit smoking for a long time. She was inspired to truly quit while taking a nicotine and tobacco cessation class offered through Country Meadows.
“The class made me realize that I needed to quit ASAP,” she says, proudly adding that she quit smoking on May 1, 2016, with the help and support of her co-workers, friends and family members.
In the two years since quitting her carton-a-week habit, Vazquez saves the money she used to purchase cigarettes. To date she has saved more than $10 thousand, in addition to a drastic improvement in her health. “Overall, I breathe a lot better and there is no more waking up in the morning coughing away,” she says.
Nicotine/tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in America, yet 38 million Americans adults continue the habit. Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths per year (1-in-5 deaths) and more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.
Country Meadows offers co-workers incentives to help them quit using nicotine and/or tobacco so they can live healthier lifestyles for their families as well as the residents for whom they care.
Overcoming the urge to stop smoking is hard enough, but a strong support system can help it much easier. “The urge to want to smoke was strong… the fear of failing, the realization and acceptance that I was addicted to nicotine was scary,” Vazquez says. “But I was very fortunate to go through this difficult journey with a close co-worker who also wanted to quit. We supported each other through the process and still continue to support each other when the urge arises.”
There are many resources available to people stop using tobacco and nicotine. Country Meadows co-workers should check with a supervisor for information about programs to help kick the habit. It is never too late.
“If I could give advice to those who are trying to quit smoking, I would tell them to set a date and go for it, just quit,” Vazquez says. “Life can be very enjoyable and healthier after you quit. I am willing and able to help my co-workers who want to quit. It isn’t easy, there are still urges for me to go back to smoking, but I keep reminding myself I will never go back. It will never beat me again!”