Great American Smokeout: Kicking the Habit

This story was originally published in The BWH Bulletin

Great American Smokeout Michael Sullivan, a senior administrative assistant for BWPO Billing Compliance, had been struggling to quit smoking for years. Throughout four decades of smoking, he had kicked the habit on a few different occasions, the longest of which lasted two years, but he always went back, he said.

Then, last February, he changed his outlook and has been smoke-free ever since.

"I realized I was getting older and wanted to start being healthier about my life and well-being," said Sullivan, who has worked at BWH for two years. He visited his physician and was prescribed Wellbutrin, an antidepressant that is also prescribed to help people quit smoking. "Initially, the medication allowed me to cut down my smoking considerably—to seven cigarettes a day—so I thought it would be a great time to give up smoking completely while I could."

Each year, in an effort to help Americans stop smoking, the American Cancer Society marks the third Thursday of November as the Great American Smokeout, a date for people to quit or make a plan to quit.

"I feel so much better," Sullivan said. "My breathing and stamina are much better, and I can walk longer and farther and exercise harder. I also see a significant difference in my attitude and way of life."

During the process of quitting, Sullivan has used Nicorette patches and lozenges to help keep cravings at bay. He also now exercises regularly, practices yoga and has changed his eating habits, improving his overall health.

"As an academic medical center, it is part of our mission to innovate and find new ways to support wellness for our employees, and this study is one example of that," said Julie Celano, vice president of Human Resources.