Some people never seem to be sick a day in their lives, while others catch every cold that comes around. In a similar way, some people seem able to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day with no repercussions, while others suffer life-threatening consequences.
“Everybody is different,” said Ann Dzwonchyk, wellness educator with Evangelical Community Health and Wellness. “I cannot tell you how your body is going to react.”
Through a Freedom From Smoking program at Evangelical Community Hospital, in Lewisburg, Dzwonchyk helps people who want to quit smoking, chewing or vaping. While she has seen the program help Valley residents kick their nicotine habits, she encourages people to find the program that works for them.
Brooke Fisher quit by going “cold turkey,” giving up the cigarettes and not turning back.
“In 2017 my parents were coming to visit me down in Texas,” said Fisher, who grew up in Mechanicsburg and now lives in Fort Drum, New York. “And my grandfather had lung cancer, and I didn’t want to follow suit. So my husband threw the pack of cigarettes out the window on the highway and I haven’t smoked since.”
To combat the cravings she chewed gum and drank “lots of water.” Today she is smoke-free, with no more cravings.
“We were so proud but more so relieved,” said her mother, Maria Boyer, of Elysburg. “She had serious will power one day after many attempts.”
Shelly Orren, of Mifflinburg, said, “Chantix worked for me.”
Debbie Inch Changary, who grew up in Selinsgrove and now lives in Florida, took a more unusual approach: she allowed herself to be hypnotized.
“I was so amazed. I never wanted another cigarette again,” she said. “I had tried many times to quit, and this one thing worked. He gave me a recording of it also to listen to if I needed to. But, I was amazed I didn’t need it. He also hypnotized me not to replace it with anything else.”
Dzwonchyk advises people who want to stop a nicotine addiction to assess what makes them smoke. Some questions to get started:
• When do I smoke/vape/chew?
• What triggers it?
• How long have I been doing it?
• Did I really need it? What was my mood? (Some people reach for a cigarette as a matter of routine without even realizing they’re doing it.)
One word of caution: Don’t think vaping or Juuling will help stop smoking.
“No doctor in their right mind is going to tell you, if you want to quit, to try Juuling or vaping,” Dzwonchyk said. “Those are just as bad, if not worse. You’re just changing your (nicotine) delivery system.”