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I started smoking at 15. Back when I was in high school, there were designated smoking areas. It wasn’t taboo like it is today.

An Introduction to Quit with WakeMed

Fast forward years later, and I got a hernia. During the process of trying to get it repaired, they told me I had to be evaluated first for my ongoing health issues — which included Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). I had to be seen by a heart doctor, a pulmonologist as well as several others they recommended. Following my appointments, I learned that a great way for me to get my various health issues under control was to achieve weight loss. Bariatric surgery was recommended. However, the care team shared that I first had to quit smoking, so they referred me to Jessica Revels, FNP, in Quit with WakeMed.

I’d already tried to stop so many times over the years. I’d tried gum, the patch, cold turkey, smoking toothpicks — and pretty much anything else recommended to quit — but I was never successful.

A Method Individualized to Lonnie’s Needs

I had my first appointment with Jessica around May 2022. She shared methods we could try to help me quit, including patches and gum. I told her I’d already tried all of this, and she said, “Well, we can do different things in combination while you still smoke.” That was huge for me because nobody had ever said I could try these methods and slowly reduce my smoking. We decided to go with the patches as well as a smoking cessation medication (paid for through the WakeMed Foundation). That provided some success, but I was still having the desire because the hand-to-mouth motions were missing. I needed something in my mouth.

Jessica then suggested we add a nicotine oral inhaler. This is basically a plastic cigar tube with a capsule of nicotine in it. When I put it in my mouth, I could inhale like I would a cigarette. The difference was that I was not inhaling nicotine into my lungs. Instead, I was getting a taste of the nicotine in my mouth in low doses. This was great since it made my brain happy. It was like, “Yeah, I’m getting a cigarette.”

Success After Months of Transitioning

I kept this up for six months as I slowly weaned off of cigarettes to the point where I didn’t have the desire anymore. I completely stopped smoking on October 24, 2022.

Jessica was always there if I needed to talk to her about having a craving. She offered me very helpful emotional support.

Revels remembers, “Lonnie came to me with a commitment to make huge life changes. He wanted to change his diet in order to lose weight while also becoming tobacco free. Initially, I must admit that I was worried that we were taking on too much change at one time. However, he was determined he would give it his best effort, and he delivered. Lonnie and I had video visits, but what I think helped him the most was touching base weekly with MyChart messaging. Together we came up with behavioral strategies, and he figured out what worked for him. Lonnie was able to reduce his smoking and determine when he was ready to quit. Ultimately, we achieved success through Lonnie’s focus, combination nicotine replacement with Varenicline, behavioral modifications and not giving up!”

Progress Despite Hurdles

Now the challenge that remains is many of my friends and my wife still smoke. Yet, my wife was the one who insisted I stop because of my health issues. I’m still working on not being bothered by people smoking around me, but I still haven’t touched another cigarette. Plus, now the tables are reversed, and I’m trying to talk my wife into quitting.

Better Health and More Money

Because I quit smoking, I now breathe a little better. I don’t get winded as quickly. I no longer have thoughts of cigarettes. I also save a ton of money since a pack would run me six dollars, and I definitely smoked way more than a pack-a-day. My life has improved because of Jessica from Quit With WakeMed!

About Quit With WakeMed – Tobacco Cessation Program

Quit With WakeMed is a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary program designed to help you quit tobacco for good. Our team will provide you with the tools, therapies and support you need to be successful. Our approach has been proven to be approximately 10 times more effective than quitting on your own.

Our Services:

  • Virtual appointments for your convenience
  • Thorough assessment and discussion of goals
  • Personalized treatment plans
  • Prescription medications (as needed)
  • Individual or group behavioral therapies
  • Ongoing follow-up

About WakeMed Primary Care

WakeMed Physician Practices features board-certified primary care, internal medicine and family medicine physicians conveniently located throughout the Triangle.

Our exceptional, compassionate providers and care teams pride themselves on developing long-term relationships with our patients and families.

We look forward to caring for you and your family and to being your family’s medical home. Call or schedule online for an in-person or virtual visit with one of our primary care providers.

Quit With WakeMed

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