Real Stories

Watch videos, read stories and listen to testimonials from people who have quit smoking or are on their path to quitting.

See stories from former smokers from around the 802.

6 Videos

Mike's Story

As the Health & Wellness Program Coordinator at Pride Center of Vermont, Mike understands firsthand the quitting challenges that face the LGBTQ community. After a number of attempts at quitting, Mike quit smoking and shares his story about the challenges he faced–and overcame. Mike is a Vermont Quit Partner and offers quit in-person classes at the Pride Center.

See stories from former smokers from around the country.

8 Videos

Meet Kristy

Kristy wanted to quit smoking. She tried e-cigarettes to help her quit, but never stopped smoking completely. She eventually quit using e-cigarettes, but kept smoking. In this video from CDC's Tips From Former Smokers campaign, Kristy explains how she finally realized that she had to quit smoking cigarettes completely.

Meet Kristy
Kristy, 35, a mother from Tennessee, had tried to quit smoking many times before she landed in the hospital, gasping for breath, with only one lung working. But each time she tried, stressful events would send her reaching for a cigarette. Kristy hoped that e-cigarettes would help, but she found that every afternoon, she still craved regular cigarettes. “I tried e-cigarettes, but I just ended up using both the electronic kind and my regular brand,” she said. Eventually, Kristy quit e-cigarettes and went back to just smoking cigarettes.

While in the hospital, Kristy’s doctors also found early COPD, a lung disease that makes it harder and harder to breathe. COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. That was when Kristy stopped smoking cigarettes completely. Today, Kristy is thankful that she quit smoking. “I can actually breathe,” she said. “I can play with my kids. When I smoked, I had no energy. It just affected my whole life!” Kristy hopes that sharing her story will help other people quit smoking as soon as possible.
Learn more about Kristy


Rowena, Juneau, Alaska

I began smoking when I was only 13 years old. At first it was quite seldom, but it didn’t take long to become hooked. Before I knew it, my mother was buying my cigarettes for me. I guess she figured she smoked and probably felt a little responsible for me starting up the “habit.” When I became pregnant, I was able to quit. But as soon as I had my daughter, I started right back up again. I had suffered some trauma during my youth and feel I numbed it with the use of tobacco and other substances. I finally became so fed up with smoking that they began tasting awful, made me tired, and gave me headaches. I quit on my own seven years ago. I’m now 39 years old. My two quits were for two years a piece. So, I smoked for 15 years! My husband’s father died from a brain tumor. He was a very heavy smoker. My grandmother died from cancer that had metastasized throughout her body. My father had colon cancer, but they caught it in time. My sister died in April of 2004, from cancer; she was only 47! All of them had smoked. Quitting was THE BEST thing I ever did for my health. I can breathe, I can smell, I can taste, I don’t smell like an a ashtray, I’m not harming “innocent bystanders” and most of all, I’m physically fit again. I don’t get winded just walking or jogging. I feel like a SUPER WOMAN. I love my kids, my husband, my granddaughter, my family, and most of all, myself. Because if I don’t take care of myself, who will? No one can, but me! In respecting all living things, I respect myself!