Nancy's Story: Quitting Smoking Takes More Than Willpower

Nancy's Story: Quitting Smoking Takes More Than Willpower

Nancy's Story

Nancy started smoking in nursing school. It helped relieve the stress of school. But years later, something happened to make her think twice about her smoking habit.

Nancy was working as a nurse and was exposed to someone who had a bad case of pneumonia. As a precaution, Nancy was checked for pneumonia. The X-ray revealed that she didn't have pneumonia—but her lungs did show early signs of emphysema. "It scared the daylights out of me," Nancy says.

So Nancy started to think seriously about quitting. But quitting was harder than she thought it would be. It took her 3 years and 30 tries before she was able to quit smoking for good

Struggling to quit

Quitting was a struggle. Back then, she didn't understand that she was addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes. She thought that quitting smoking was all about willpower. And at that time there weren't a lot of tools available to help someone quit smoking. The patch had just come out, and she hadn't heard much about it.

So Nancy found herself in a cycle of quitting and relapsing—smoking for a few weeks between each attempt at quitting. Despite what felt like repeated failure, she didn't give up. "It was the fear of not being able to breathe" that kept her motivated to keep trying to quit, Nancy says.

As a nurse, Nancy knew firsthand what it was like to struggle for each breath. She worked in an intensive care unit where many of her patients suffered from lung disease. "I really made myself focus on the future of my life. I want to be skiing when I'm 70. I don't want an oxygen tank."

Nancy's story reflects her experiences as told in an interview. The photograph is not of Nancy to protect her privacy.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: February 11, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.