"I had tried before to quit, but couldn't do it. I needed help."
To celebrate nearly 100 days without a cigarette, Jason Bona bought a new car, not only because he needed one, but to help erase one of the lingering effects of years of smoking a pack a day - odor. "I didn't smoke in the house, but almost everyone knew I was a smoker," the 31-year-old Bona said. "The smell is all around. It's in my clothes, it was on my breath and on my teeth, and it was always in the car."
Bona entered the BMC Smoking Cessation program after almost 15 years of smoking and numerous failed attempts at going cold turkey for one primary reason - he no longer wanted to hide the habit from his five-year-old daughter. "That's what pushed me to get the help I needed to quit once and for all. I had tried before to quit, but couldn't do it. I needed help."
The BMC program provides both one-on-one counseling and group smoking cessation classes to help hundreds of local residents to quit smoking each year. Bona chose to do the individual meetings, and he said Carol McMahon, the director of the program, was extremely helpful. "She was great. It's nice to talk with someone who has been through what you're going through and knows exactly how you feel and how hard it is to give up smoking."
Bona credited his discussions with McMahon and the tools the program provided him for his success. He said the nicotine lozenges were the most effective treatment method for him, helping to take away the craving for a cigarette. As with most smokers who kick the habit, he still has periodic cravings to light up, but hasn't touched a cigarette for over three months and continues to use the lozenges, but only sporadically.
The impact on Bona's health has been dramatic. "I used to cough all day. I still cough, but nowhere near as much as before. I'm also breathing easier. I just feel better all around."