On March 11, 2012 Sue Sowinski, manager of advancement services for Liberty Lutheran, quit smoking cigarettes after more than 30 years with help of a program provided by Liberty Wellness Works. “It was a terribly long habit to have to break,” she said.
All of Liberty Lutheran is going smoke free on September 1st, joining more than half of the country’s health care organizations.
Sue was motivated to quit by her significant other, who had quit smoking a few years ago, and her doctor. “Every time I went to the doctor he’d say things like, ‘a cold wouldn’t turn into bronchitis if you didn’t smoke,’” Sue said. “I thought, why am I doing this? It’s bad for me, I need to quit. So I made up my mind that I was going to quit no matter how hard it was.”
Sue met with John Fairchild, one of Liberty Lutheran’s employee wellness coordinators, and worked through an eight week program from the American Lung Association. “It was really helpful to have his support,” she said. “I knew what to expect when I quit, and I knew that someone was there to support me.” Sue met with John once a week and he called every couple of days to see how she was doing. He provided her with helpful tips such as squeezing a stress ball, or eating sugar free candy when she had a craving. He also gave her cinnamon flavored toothpicks. “He encouraged me to work through the cravings.”
“For the first few weeks, your body is really craving cigarettes,” Sue said. “It was really hard.” Sue was used to leaving her desk every day at 10 for a cigarette break, and to smoking in the car and after dinner. “It’s just old habits that you have to let go,” she said. She started doing sudoku and puzzles in the evenings to keep her mind off of it.
“I’m really glad that I quit,” Sue said. “I feel a lot better. I don’t get short of breath walking up the stairs anymore.”
Sue’s advice to those who are thinking about quitting is to have someone that you can call for support. Liberty Lutheran is committed to the health and wellness of its employees, and is offering a variety of programs for employees who wish to quit, free of charge, including the American Lung Association’s Freedom from Smoking program.
Liberty Lutheran employees who want to quit smoking should contact John Fairchild at 215.283.9999 ext. 199 or Kelli McIntyre at 215-934-3066.