Quit Core program successful for most smokers

Heather Sakofsky smoked for 40 years. She enjoyed it.

Heather Sakofsky smoked for 40 years.

She enjoyed it. She liked to sit out on her deck with a coffee and a cigarette and when she was stressed, like so many people; she automatically reached for a cigarette.

It calmed her down.

But today Sakofsky is a non-smoker and she is proud and happy, though she admits she doesn’t want to get too cocky, because she knows as well as anyone, quitting smoking is not an easy task and starting again can be as close as allowing yourself to take only one drag of a forbidden cigarette.

However, since taking the Quit Core program, Sakofsky has butted out for good.

“I’m surprised at how easy it’s been,” she said. “I was terrified to go to it because I didn’t want to be a failure.”

Sakofsky said the support and information she received during the program was enough to make her kick the habit, this time for good.

“I quit once before for six weeks. My daughter had her cigarette laying in the ashtray and I thought I could just have a puff.”

She shook her head.

“No, I can’t,” she said ruefully.

It is a common fact smoking is bad for you but exactly how bad it can be was brought home to Sakofsky during the program where a film was shown about the serious effects on health the nasty habit can have.

Not listening to that little voice inside your head that says it’s OK to have just one, or to simply have a drag, is imperative, said Sakofsky.

“You have to keep talking to yourself. It’s all psychological.”

Patrick Rurka, owner of Rimbey Value Drug Mart, said 16 people registered for the last Quit Core program, 10 came to the majority of classes and eight of those had quit smoking by the end of the seventh week.

He said the course works well but people need to remember it can take seven to nine attempts to be successful.

Rurka said the hardest part about the course is keeping the commitment to attend.

“I can’t force anyone to quit but I can provide tools, information, encouragement and the occasional good laugh that helps make the process easier.”

He said quitting is an individual decision.

“At some point during the seven weeks (of the program) each person there has their own epiphany. That helps them solidify their reason for quitting.”

Rurka encourages participants to bring a support person to help them through the rough spots but if they don’t’ have one, he is more than willing to be that person.

“I give out my cell number to the class and encourage them to text me with their successes and their stresses.”

Most people aren’t successful at quitting because they are letting something stand in their way.

“Once we identify what’s standing in their way we can attack it head on. We first have to determine why you smoke, then we add tools to your tool box that will teach you how to live without cigarette.”

Graduates of the program noted it is easier to quit in a group because everyone is facing the same hurdles. Graduates also noted hearing other people’s success stories was a great confidence booster and the support from program organizers was uplifting and encouraging.

“When I finally realized I couldn’t quit for anyone else, I had to do it for myself the process became easier,” one participant commented.

Rurka is encouraged by the success of the participants.

“The biggest changes I see over the course of seven weeks is the color that returns to a person’s face after they quit smoking. Most don’t notice the difference, but subtly over the weeks the pink returns to their cheeks and they start to glow. Their smiles brighten as they realize they are conquering their overpowering addiction.”

The next Quit Core program will begin April 16 and run until May 28 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Rimbey Hospital and Care Centre in the auditorium. To register call 1-866-710-QUIT (7848) or just show up.