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Want to Quit Smoking in 2018 (or any time)? NYS Has Coaches That Can Help

A lot of people will start 2018 with the goal – call it a resolution or not – of quitting smoking.  The New York State Smokers Quitline has coaches that can be the missing piece in keeping with the goal.  Darlene Drake is a lead supervisor of the Quit Coaches ... who can help you break habits.  Before she quit, Darlene was lighting-up right when she woke up.

“So then I practiced at getting up and getting in the shower, and then lighting up.  Then I practiced at getting up, getting in the shower, getting a cup of coffee, then lighting up.  So every day I was creating something new.” 

She likes to find out why someone smokes in the first place:  Is it boredom? ...stress?  Are they around others who are always smoking?  Drake doesn’t like to repeat dire health warnings about cancer and other life-threatening effects.

“We all know it’s bad.  Every smoker knows it bad.  You know you’re going to die but what you don’t find is a lot of people aren’t aware of how much better you can feel if you let it go.” 

So she’ll ask them to close their eyes and feel what your body goes through while you’re smoking ... and the quick improvement when you stop.

“The smokers don’t realize that when they’re smoking everything’s rushing inside you now.  But 20 minutes after putting that cigarette out, you can feel your body start to relax again.  It’s already generating clean cells.  Your breathing is started to get better.  Your heart rate has already relaxed itself.  Your blood pressure has automatically gone down from there.”

Drake says focusing on the gains can be an effective way a coach keeps someone on track.  Maybe more important, a coach can remind the smoker that trying to quit repeatedly - and failing - is not all bad.

“We’re letting you know that normally it takes several times.  For some people it takes 7 times; for some people it takes 5 times.  Most people don’t realize that by trying this several times, all you’re doing is practicing for the final run.”  

Health officials say the coaches at the Quitline should be used in conjunction with your doctor’s advice for the best odds of success.  The quitline can be reached at 866- N-Y-Quits.  There’s also a state website – – with more tips and facts, including links to get nicotine replacement or other medication that can help.  

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.