Syracuse Woman Looks To Inspire Other New Yorkers To Stop Smoking

Jan 2, 2019

Michelle says her son, left, was her number one supporter as she tried to quit smoking.
Credit New York State Smoker's Quitline

A lot of Central New Yorkers might have ‘quitting smoking’ on their New Year’s Resolution List.  But smoking cessation often fails the first time around.  The story of one former smoker here in Syracuse may help make that effort more successful.

Michelle had never really thought about, much less tried, to quit smoking.  But her son changed that when he told her he was worried she wouldn’t be around for his family.

“He dealt with his grandfather on his father’s side died of COPD, and he smoked,” said Michelle. “Getting older, he’s 26, and getting married, wanting to start his family, I think it hit him. We had a very emotional moment on the phone. It really socked him very hard.”

That got her to call the New York State Quitline … and Micelle admits she was a little embarrassed, but got patches and gum to start quitting. However, ongoing support is considered a key element.

“He’ll call me every morning and ask me how I’m feeling, how I’m doing, how am I doing with my support unit,” said Michelle. “I had an amazing experience with the New York Quit Line. They were awesome. They were professional. They didn’t judge. A lot of us smokers, we don’t like the judging.”

Roswell Park Cessation Marketing Director Paula Celestino adds it’s good to know your triggers – Michelle’s are driving, phone calls and morning coffee – and try to change routines. 

“And the thought of changing all of this can be really overwhelming and seemingly unrealistic,” said Celestino. “So what it’s important to do is really try to identify those things that you feel are your toughest triggers, and prepare yourself for them. Changing things up a little bit will really help.”

Celestino adds medical advacnes change the view of quitting.

“Smokers often don’t think of smoking as a treatable disease,” said Celestino. “They think ‘I have will power or I don’t.’ When you begin to think about it as a disease and you start to think of treatment, the stop smoking medications are effective. They double sometimes triple your chances.”

Michelle says she noticed benefits pretty quickly.

“I’m very active, more now,” said Michelle. “I’ve noticed smells that I couldn’t smell before. I don’t wheeze at night no more. I don’t cough. The only time I cough is if I have a cold. I have my taste back. I can taste foods that I was piling a lot of salt with, and I don’t nearly use salt anymore.”      

And the benefit of having a better chance to experience her son and grandson’s futures. 

If quitting smoking is one of your New Year’s plans, the QuitLine is at 866-NY-Quits or online at