News and Information

Stop Smoking for Good with Quit Smart


Honaker, Andrea (2014, November 17). The Tools to Quit Smoking…for Good. The Gaston Gazette.

Gaston County is up in smoke. Twenty-five percent of residents reported using tobacco daily, surpassing the 22 percent state average, according to the Gaston County 2012 Community Health Assessment Report.

Any time is a good time to quit, but health agencies are putting special emphasis on the dangers of smoking during Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, which the American Cancer Society states is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in the country.

CaroMont Health is giving local smokers the resources to snuff their bad habit for good in just one month. Quit Smart, started in November 2013, is a three-session group class that uses a self-help kit and personalized coaching to ease participants off nicotine. It also uses hypnosis and relaxation techniques, recommended medications and a simulated fake cigarette, said Amber Cochran, CaroMont health promotion manager.

“Quit Smart calls it ‘warm chicken’ quitting, where you use brand switching to lower the amount of nicotine you consume until you actually quit,” Cochran said.

Forty-two people have completed the program so far, and CaroMont has brought it into two workplaces.

Stephanie Rutherford, a Gastonia resident and a training coding specialist at CaroMont, is one of the success stories.

“I had been wanting to quit for a while. I do have two small grandchildren, and they’re getting older. That was my main goal for doing it, and for myself too, health-wise … make sure I can live longer and be with them,” she said.

A smoker since around age 15, Rutherford’s attempt to quit a couple years with medication was unsuccessful. But on Jan. 21, she became smoke free through Quit Smart, and she’s still staying strong 10 months later.

The program teaches smokers how to change their routine to avoid ritual smoking sessions. Rutherford switched to a different kind of cigarettes weekly, each with less milligrams of nicotine than the packs before. She said this method really helped a lot, along with the way the program was presented.

“When you’re a smoker, you don’t want people to tell you to quit,” she said. “What they don’t understand is, it’s an addiction. The program, it’s not like saying you’re a failure if you don’t quit. There’s no guilt there because they’re there to support you. They give you the information, and they’re continuously telling you, ‘If for some reason you don’t make it, it’s OK. We’re here for you.’”

Each participant decides on their official quit date, and Jan. 21 was the day of truth for Rutherford. As instructed, she threw away all her cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays. She said she tossed the grill lighter too, just to be safe.

Rutherford said the first three days were hard, but she’s not had much of a craving since then. She and her husband do something special every month to celebrate her being smoke free.

“I’m exercising more. My sense of smell is a lot stronger, taste of food is a lot better. I have more time to spend with the grandkids rather than wasting time smoking,” she said.

Plus, she’s saving a lot of money by not buying cigarettes. She discovered that she’d spent nearly $55,000 on her habit over 30 years.

You can reach lifestyles reporter Andrea Honaker at or 704-869-1840. Follow her on Twitter at and read her blog at

Want to quit?
For more information on CaroMont Health’s smoking cessation classes, call 704-671-7936.

Get social
On Thursday, CaroMont kicked off its two-week social media campaign, #NoSmokingNovember. Find “CaroMont Health” on Facebook to see posts about myths, statistics, expert advice and testimonials.

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Categories: Health