The American Lung Association
1-866-QUIT-YES Smoking Cessation Hot Line

Last week, on Tuesday, 01-03-06, I phoned the toll free Quit Smoking Help Line, currently being promoted and advertised by the American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago and the Illinois Department of Health at 1-866-QUIT-YES (1-866-784-8937) to learn more, personally, about their “quit smoking advice and referrals program”.

I would have phoned sooner, but their telephone lines were closed from noon on Friday, December 30th through Monday, January 2nd. Over the holiday, an automated message told callers to leave their name and phone number so that a representative could return their call within 24 hours. The quit smoking line reopened on January 3rd, from 7:00 a.m. till 7:00 p.m.

I spoke with a Tobacco Quit Line Specialist in Chicago’s Springfield, Illinois based “call center”. These specialists are Addiction Counselors and have received their certification through a training program supplied by the Mayo Clinic, although they are not nurses. My counselor said she was one of many taking calls in the center. When I asked, she answered that she had never been a smoker.

She also offered to mail me additional information on the quit smoking program and I gave her my home address. Yesterday, a week later, I still had not received the literature packet and phoned the Quit Line again. My identity had been entered in their data base, as they had my name and address available by cross-referencing my phone number and the new Specialist addressed me by name. The packet of information should now be mailed, since my first counselor had neglected to send the information.

The initial question asked of me was my reasoning for wanting to quit smoking. I answered that it was due to the great increases in cigarettes prices, social pressure and spreading smoking bans. She never even bothered to tell me that these were not valid reasons for anticipated success. Instead, she asked if I had ever tried to quit before. I answered "no".

I was then given the basic steps to begin my withdrawal from smoking. Depending upon how much I “guesstimated” as the amount I smoked daily, I was to place that number of cigarettes in a baggie. The baggie was to be kept in an inconvenient location (such as my car). I was instructed to only attempt to reduce the amount of my smoking by one cigarette every 72 hours, as that would avoid the occurrence of “withdrawal” symptoms. I was also told that I should make smoking an unpleasant experience by forcing myself to go outdoors in cold weather, etc. for a cigarette. After this continuing process of reducing my intake by one cigarette every three days, I would be able to consider pharmaceutical replacement (the patch) when I reached the intake level of no more than 15 cigarettes per day. It was explained to me that this is the reason why so many people fail to quit smoking....because the patch can only deliver nicotine equivalent to 15 cigarettes in a 24-hour period.

I inquired if this process would not create an obsession with smoking and cigarettes for me, but was told “no”, that it would just make me aware of when I wanted to smoke and what the “triggers” were. I did tell her that I had already learned those triggers while working in a non-smoking environment. I also commented that it sounded very much like dieting to me and asked if using smokeless tobacco products were acceptable in substitution for pharmaceutical replacement therapy. The answer was “no” again, that smokeless tobacco is unacceptable as an alternative. Of course, this was only after I described and defined (Snuff/Snus) smokeless tobacco. My Certified Addiction Counselor had been previously unacquainted with smokeless tobacco.

I also asked about the availability of free smoking cessation aids and was given the name and phone number of a local individual contact in Lake County for the purpose of scheduling an appointment with a smoking cessation clinic. When I questioned if there was a URL where I could locate other clinics, my counselor told me that the list is restricted and is not published. (The location supplied was The Health and Fitness Center in Lake Forest, Illinois...not a discount establishment.)

It is possible to phone the Quit Line more than once for support, and a request can also be made to have a counselor make daily phone calls to those in the process of attempting to quit smoking.

That’s it! I am surprised that even seven percent of smokers succeed in their attempts to quit smoking. Where is the satisfaction or pay back? Thank you, but I’ll pass....I have never been a masochist and find the anticipated benefits from smoking cessation sadly lacking.

"Smoking takes 10 years off your life. Well, it's the 10 worst years, isn't it, folks? It's the ones at the end! It's the wheelchair-kidney-dialysis-..... years. You can have those years! We don't want 'em, all right!? And with that in mind, light up, everyone, and have a good day." - Denis Leary
Garnet Dawn - The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter -
Illinois Smokers Rights -
Illinois Smokers Forum - - Respect Freedom of Choice!

American Lung Association Schedules Quit Smoking Workshop, Drive-By Giveaways, Individual Counseling & Carbon Monoxide Testing for Chicago's Smoke-Free Launch, Jan 16

CHICAGO, Dec. 28 /PRNewswire/ --

The American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago is ready to help smokers give up their cigarettes with quit smoking classes, free drive-by quit kits, carbon monoxide testing and individual counseling prior to the January 16 date when Chicago's smoke-free ordinance goes into effect. The ordinance phases in a smoking ban in restaurants, bars, and all workplaces over the next 30 months.

A free one-hour Quit Tip Workshop has been scheduled for noon, Friday, January 13 at the Association's office 1440 W. Washington Blvd. Reservations are required. On Sunday, January 15, 1 - 3 pm, the Association will offer curb service for smokers or their loved ones interested in picking up free Quit Kits. Tobacco cessation counselors will be on hand to offer advice to individual smokers.

The free January 13 Quit Tip Workshop is a valuable introductory session for participants to talk about factors influencing their smoking, the difficulty of quitting, expectations, cessation tips and support options. Reservations can be made by calling Erica Gaddy at 312-243-2000.

While supplies last, drivers stopping by the Association on Sunday, January 15 between 1 - 3 pm will receive free Quit Kits filled with stop- smoking ideas, telephone and website support information, a three-month pass to Bally Total Fitness Clubs and nicotine replacement samples donated by the Chicago Department of Public Health. Cessation specialists will also be on hand to give advice and help smokers structure their individual quit-smoking plan. Appointments are suggested but not required and can be made by calling Erica Gaddy at 312-243-2000

Free carbon monoxide testing will be available to measure the level of harmful gas in a smoker's lungs. As CO levels increase, the ability to carry oxygen decreases. Long term exposure can lead to heart disease.

In a related event, the American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago is sponsoring a series of smoke-free nights in January at Buddy Guy's Legends with the icon himself performing. The series culminates with a special celebration on Sunday, January 15, marking the following day's launch of the City's new clean indoor air ordinance. The public is invited to join Buddy Guy in saying goodbye to smoky blues clubs, and hello to a healthier future for all Chicagoans. Tickets are $35 and available at .

The Association also offers free quit smoking advice and referrals at 1-866-QUIT-YES and on their website at .

The American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago, which has been a leader in the Smoke-free Chicago movement, is one of Chicago's oldest charitable organizations and will celebrate its 100th Year Anniversary in 2006.


CONTACT: Kevin Tynan, +1-312-628-0225, cellular, +1-312-659-6884, or Meghan Mahan, +1-312-628-0250, cellular, +1-773-209-6704, both of American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago

Web site:

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