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Smoking & tobacco

Celebrating quitters

Stories by people who quit smoking together

When one person quits smoking, they often inspire their friends and family to quit too. In fact, new research confirms that quitting smoking is 'contagious'.

This page offers stories by people who have quit smoking together. We hope their stories will inspire you to join them. You can also read stories by people who quit smoking alone. If you've quit smoking, please share your quit story with us.

Gail Francis

Louise Francis

Quitting together is very powerful. If it werenít for my partner Louise, I would have smoked one thousand times. Thatís because when you give someone your word, youíd better stick to it.

I kept at it because it would have been harder for me to see Louise disappointed in me if I didnít quit.

I started quitting gradually. I had just got a new car and so I promised that I wouldnít smoke in the car. Then, I stopped smoking in the house. For me, it was easier to chunk it out like that.

I had tried to quit smoking in the past about five times. But this is the first time that I quit together with someone. I think it made a difference. When you make a statement that youíre going to quit, youíve got a real-life conscience living with you. I knew that I couldnít smoke in front of Louise. She would say, if you do that, then Iíll be tempted. So, I felt responsible for her.

Iíd been diagnosed with early COPD, so since quitting, Iíve noticed that Iím breathing better and coughing much less.

We just celebrated our one-year anniversary of quitting on November 11th.

Louise Steeves

Gail Steeves

For me, quitting smoking was an important step in prolonging my life. Iím 33 and I grew up with smokers. I first quit back in 2005, just before the death of my grandmother. She died of lung cancer. My grandfather also died of lung cancer, back in 1991. He was in his 50s.

Last year, I convinced my mother and my partner Gail (both life-long smokers) to quit with me. Nobody wants to do it alone. My mother and I quit using a smoking cessation pill. I knew I had the willpower to do it, but the medication definitely played an integral role in quitting.

It helped me to not crave for a cigarette. In fact, it turned me off of cigarettes so much so that I don't enjoy the smell of the smoke; it actually bothers me now.

My partner Gail quit by using the nicotine inhaler. It helped her overcome withdrawal as well as helped her to substitute the smoking process by keeping her hands busy.

Having Gail quit with me made a huge difference. She talked me down off the shelf and would remind me of the consequences and would remind me of how far I have come.

My mother, however, chose to begin smoking again. She is now attempting to quit again, through using the patch. I hope she is successful. I told her that quitting smoking has prolonged my life and I don't want to end up alone years from now because she didn't stay quit.

One piece of advice for anyone quitting: begin an exercise program. I say this for several reasons. First, exercise can be a great de-stresser (which is why many of us smoke...stress). Exercise can help you cope with day-to-day stress.

Secondly, if you exercise, you can balance out the extra eating most people who quit experience. I only gained 5 pounds when I quit...and I lost it in 2 weeks all because of exercising.

The third reason to exercise while quitting is that it can be used as a gauge to how much your lungs have improved. I could never run in my adult life. With my asthma, I noticed the difference right away. Suddenly, I could breathe easier.

In fact, at my most recent appointment with the asthma clinic, I had the best breathing test results in my life! Even my small airways have opened up.

I did my first 5K race this fall, all without stopping for air! I'm training for a half marathon in the spring. My asthma is also so much better controlled. Not to mention, I got sick this fall...for about 2 days. Normally, I would have been out of commission for weeks!

I didn't even mention the part that I lost 125 lbs (to date) while quitting smoking. :-)

So, to sum it up: Quit! We need you around for as long as possible!

Christie Kane and Dan Perley, Victoria, BC

Christie and Dan.jpg

We both made a commitment to stop abuse in our communities and decided to start with ourselves by stopping smoking.

We want to inspire others in our community of Sooke, B.C. to quit, which is especially critical given the high smoking rate in the First Nations population. It makes us very sad to see youth and pregnant mothers smoking, not because they enjoy it, but because they canít give it up. We are determined to let everyone know that if we can quit Ė anybody can!

Last year, I (Christie) was one of the winners of the QuitNow & Win contest (co-sponsored by BC Lung Association). What motivated me to quit smoking was to imagine the feeling of being healthier, stronger, and free from our addiction.

We both also highly recommend the book "The Easy Way" by Allen Carr as a helpful tool in quitting smoking.

Jill Hubler

Jill Hubler

I've had many attempts to stop smoking with no success. Even finding out I was pregnant wasn't motivation enough to keep the quit Ė sad I know. However I must say that having our little girl helped me with my current on-going success.

In talking with my sister-in-law, Tania, I discovered that she was too becoming tired of "Nico-demon" (I love that phrase) and wanted to quit. I discussed this with my family doctor who recommended a prescription medication to assist with quitting smoking. Now I've tried many other methods: acupuncture, cold turkey, etc. At first, I was quite skeptical but was willing to give it a chance.

For me, what worked was the smoking cessation pill coupled with support from family and of course, Tania, who made me go from skeptical to a believer. Don't get me wrong, it was still hard but just knowing I had Tania to reach out to, who was probably going through the exact same thing as I was at the exact moment, made it better.

Also, I found in my previous quits I could lie to myself about sneaking a puff here and there and even hiding a pack in my purse but this time, I couldn't lie to Tania. So this was motivation to keep the quit even thru the really, really hard days.

Tania is a big part of my quit, if it wasn't for the buddy system, I don't know if I would be in "recovery" today. Sure I had support from family and friends but knowing someone else close to me was dealing with the same demon as I was, was a comfort to me, I wasn't alone.

Being a quitter ain't so bad! That used to be my tag line on my emails, which made people ask and fellow smoke buddies would tell me "yeah I'm gonna quit soon" and I always told them, You got to want to quit.

Here are some positives that came from my quit:

  • I never smoked in my home and never smoked in my car when she was in there but once I quit my daughter has not needed to use her asthma inhaler since! This to me was an eye opener. I never thought I was effecting her with my smoking because I never did it directly around her but it most certainly was. This is the one I am most proud of!
  • I donít freeze anymore standing outside having that smoke.
  • My clothes don't smell! Woo Hoo!
  • I haven't had a sinus infection since.

And as for the negatives: I can't seem to find any negative things about quitting!

Tania Hubler

Tania Hubler

I think quitting is just as addictive as smoking.

I quit smoking August 4, 2008 with my sister-in-law, Jill. Both of us used a smoking cessation pill. It was the August long weekend and on the holiday Monday, we chose that would be the day we would not to light up.

It may sound clichťd but I know that we were each otherís rocks, thatís for sure. There was no way I could have done this on my own. Jill was the only person who knew exactly what I was going through.

Three weeks after I quit, I had a very stressful day. I must have smoked 3 packs of cigarettes. When I told Jill about my relapse, she told me: ďTomorrow is another day." The next day I woke up and said to myself: All right, letís give it another go. Because if I could do it for three weeks, then I could do it for another three weeks. If you could do it for an hour, then you can do it for another hour.

A lot of people thought I wouldnít stay quit after my separation. But I did. In fact, I inspired four other women in my office to quit. One of them told me that I was one of the heaviest smokers she knew. So when she heard that I quit, she decided she would, too.

When youíre able to show others that quitting is do-able, it definitely helps you, too. Knowing that my quitting has helped inspire others to stop smoking has strengthened my resolve to stay quit. You really donít want to let the others (who have quit) down.

Quitting smoking was the beginning of a transformation in my life. I gained a little bit of weight at first (5 or so pounds), which inspired me to go to the gym more often, which in turn made me notice just how much easier the treadmill was! I couldn't believe it! This instilled a great deal of confidence in me! I made several changes including my diet, my exercise and my general outlook on life.

I now live my life in a much healthier way and truly believe in the following quote: "Anyone can give up; it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength."

Sheryl and Rick Plante

Sheryl and Rick Plante

My husband & I quit together 8 1/2 years ago and it is the best thing we did for ourselves. I say ourselves because there is no point trying to quit for someone else, it doesn't work, not for us anyways. We both struggled with quitting but in 2000 we decided we were tired of cigarettes controlling our lives. I tried smoking as early as grade 7, cigarettes were easy to get back in the late 60s and they were cheap. You were considered cool and tough. And being an inner city kid, it was what you did.

Once I was addicted, it became like a blanket to a child, I couldn't image being in a social setting without being able to smoke. So my advice is to quit for yourself, you'll be so happy you did. Do I miss anything about smoking? I don't miss the smokers cough. I don't miss the smell. I don't miss how I felt nor the dependency.


What do I love? I love the way I feel about being a non-smoker. I love the extra money I have. I love always feeling clean and not smelly. I love life and the fact that I'm not at risk of lung cancer anymore. What do I miss most? I miss my younger brother Darrin. He died on Sept 11/08 of lung cancer. He was only 45. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and died 4 weeks after being diagnosed. To see how much he struggled to breathe broke my heart. Your saying, "When you can't breathe, nothing else matters" sure hit home. Darrin had nothing left but his family & friends to take care of him and watch him die. I wish everyone had the courage to give themselves this biggest gift, and that is to quit now - it's so worth it. Good luck to you all.

Smoking is addictive... but quitting is contagious

Quitting smoking is contagious, according to a large study published in the New England Journal of Medicine1. Researchers found that people are more likely to quit smoking when someone in their social circle (a family member, friend or co-worker) quits too.

This study found that:

  • People whose husband or wife quit smoking were 67% less likely to smoke.
  • People with a friend who quit smoking were 36% less likely to smoke.
  • In smaller companies, people with a co-worker who quit smoking were 34% less likely to smoke.
  • People whose brother or sister quit were 25% less likely to smoke.

This research shows how people affect one anotherís smoking behaviour. When you quit smoking, you can influence your friends and family to do the same. That's powerful!

Are you ready to quit smoking?


1. Christakis NA and Fowler JH. The collective dynamics of smoking in a large social network. N Engl J Med 2008;358:2249-58.