Seniors Digest
KIPDA Area Agency on Aging and
Independent Living
  October 1, 2009 

New Smoking Cessation Resource for Seniors

A local senior shares her success story. If you are a smoker over age 60 and want to quit, sign up today for free classes!

No smokingSummer is the perfect time to visit family, friends and my favorite activity, yard sales! One can pick up the best bargains mulling over tables, boxes, and racks of items the present owner is discarding. I especially love to look at the vintage items of clothing, knickknacks, buttons, jewelry and pins. Recently, I picked up an interesting pitcher and wash basin. They reeked of tobacco smoke but I knew they would go perfectly in my front room to add some pizzazz to an antique table.

I took the items home and put the first item in the sink. As it sat in the dishwater, I noticed it was becoming lighter and lighter. It wasn't the earth tone colors I thought I was buying—it was a beautiful pink with gold trim! I began scrubbing the second piece with more zeal and much to my delight, it matched the second and was even more ornate. It turned out I had purchased a very delicate porcelain set!

These beautiful heirlooms must have been sitting in someone's home for years, accumulating decades of cigarette smoke, tar and chemicals. I can only imagine what the lungs of the person living there for all those years looked like! There must have been people smoking in the house all the time. 

I too used to be a smoker, but I gave it up about six years ago with the help of the Cooper Clayton Stop Smoking Program. I attended 13 classes that met for an hour, but it was worth it! I wore a nicotine replacement patch to wean myself off cigarettes. The classes taught me about how to deal with weight gain, my smoking buddies, and stress. In the beginning, I was terrified I would not be able to stop smoking with the patches.  The first few days were rough, but I toughed it out. I could not believe how much better I felt as the days turned into weeks. The classes seemed to breeze by. I even looked forward to them! I would never have dreamed it would be possible for me to be free of cigarettes. The most disturbing part was realizing how bad smokers actually smell! I never dreamed I had been one of those people.

My children are so proud of me. They always tell me how nice I smell and how much they love to hug me since I don't smell like an ashtray. My former Cooper Clayton facilitator told me to save the cash I would have spent on cigarettes and do something just for me. It has been six years and I still like to save my "cigarette money." My favorite selfish indulgence is full body massages. The first one I had with my savings was the best one ever! I plan on getting these wonderful massages until one of my daughters tells me she is pregnant. I sure won't mind giving up my selfish money if I'm saving for a grandbaby.

I have come to the conclusion that my life improved dramatically when I decided to become smoke free. I did it for myself, and my family has also benefited. I have added years to my life. I want to grow old and enjoy the things I worked my whole life for. I especially want to see my children become parents. I dream of the days I can spoil my grandkids, give them gifts that make tons of noise, feed them sugar, and lovingly send them home. Isn't that what grandparents are supposed to do?

If you are a smoker, or care about someone who smokes, the Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency (KIPDA) has given Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness and the Louisville Metro Tobacco Free Coalition a generous grant to provide individuals age 60 and over with free nicotine replacement patches if they attend the Cooper Clayton Stop Smoking Program.

Since the program began in January 2009, 85 people age 60 and over have attended classes all over Louisville. Individuals are required to sign up by calling 502-574-STOP (7867), or send an email to The Cooper Clayton classes are offered free throughout the city. All one has to do is be serious about quitting, call and register, and JUST SHOW UP! It won't cost a dime, either. The classes encourage you to exercise more, eat healthier foods, save money, and help you become smoke free. It's a win-win for everyone! 



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