I had my first cigarette when I was fourteen years old and it made me absolutely nauseous. But that didn’t stop me from sneaking into the kitchen freezer where my dad kept his cigarettes. I wish it had. Smoking turned out to be a terrible health mistake, which I didn’t put an end to until February 5, 2010. I remember the day quite well.
I was standing in line at the pharmacy, picking up cigarettes and my prescription hypertension medication. But I realized I couldn’t buy either. I had forgotten my wallet.
Walking home—without a filled prescription or a cigarette fix—I thought about my doctor, Ahmar Butt, MD, who had asked me to quit smoking so many times over the years. I might be able to reduce or stop taking my hypertension meds if I quit, he said, and I would live a longer and healthier life.
That day I returned to the drug store to pick up my prescription, but I didn’t get the cigarettes. I decided to quit that day.
I thank Dr. Butt for gently but persistently nagging me, year after year, to quit smoking. Giving up cigarettes is one of the hardest things a person can do, but it helps tremendously when there’s someone out there who cares about you and wants you to succeed.
During those first thirty days I could almost see and hear Dr. Butt encouraging me to stick with my smoking cessation efforts. It was as if he were there with me in the room.
Thanks to Dr. Butt, plenty of nicotine skin patches, and my own determination, I’ve been smoke free for more than two years now. One positive change leads to another. Getting cigarettes out of my life helped increase my interest in exercise and now I bike regularly, sometimes covering ten miles a day.
If you would like to quit smoking, please call The Brooklyn Hospital Center at 718.250.8657. You can get help out our main campus on 121 DeKalb Avenue or at one of our four Community Family Health Centers. Learn more at www.tbh.org/smoking-cessation-program.Return to Success Stories