Smokers across the country took part in the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 15th, by smoking less or quitting for the day, or longer. But how many smokers will take the next step, and kick the habit for good?
Any smoker will tell you, it's a tough habit to break. But there are plenty of success stories out there.
John Allen, 28, is our Creative Services Director at WLOX-TV. He was smoking over a pack a day when he decided to quit a year and a half ago. He says his young daughter was his inspiration.
"I honestly fell in love with my daughter the minute she was born. And it got to be where I realized I wanted to be here for a while, and anything that increased my odds of that not happening, I wanted to take that away."
John grew up in a household where both parents smoked. He says he started smoking when he was a teen, and quickly developed a habit that lasted 13 years.
"It was pretty tough to set it down."
He says he had tried quitting cold turkey, but that didn't work. Once he made up his mind to quit, it was a slow, but steady process. He even smoked clove cigarettes to help ease the transition.
"It took four or five months to transition from more than a pack, to half a pack, to three or four a day, to smoking cloves, to walking away."
Now a year and a half after putting down his last cigarette, he feels much better in many ways.
"My wallet feels better. I can spend that money to pamper myself, and my wife and daughter. I feel better mentally, physically, all around. I'm breathing easier, don't get as winded, and it feels good knowing I won't expose my children to this."
He says finding a good support system, whether it's family or friends, is important.
"My wife, I love her to death, she gave me the incentive to keep going, to keep putting it down."
And now he's looking forward to a healthier future with his wife, daughter, and new baby on the way. He encourages others trying to quit, not to give up.