Quit Now: Seeing strong will and big successes

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A small setback resulted in strengthened resolve last month for Mike Oswald in his journey to quit smoking.

Mike, an SOBC – Sunshine Coast athlete, took up the challenge of SOBC’s Quit Now program and smoked his last cigarette on September 30. After two months without smoking in his life, Mike is feeling great, noting genuine improvements in his sport performance and positive reactions from his family and friends – as well as from his cat, who is now even willing to let him carry her since he doesn’t smell of smoke!

Out on the basketball court and in the pool, Mike is showing how much it matters to kick smoking out of his life. Instead of thinking about where his next smoke is coming from, Mike is focused on what’s happening in his sport. “I’m really liking playing basketball. We’re learning to play one-on-one defence, and I’m able to be quicker on my feet,” he says. In the pool, Mike has shown great gains in his ability to do 50-metre sprints, and his results at the recent SOBC – North Shore meet he attended showcased his improvements.

“His coaches note that Mike feels better at practice and has not only more stamina but also more confidence in his ability. We are all so proud of him!” says Marilyn Adams, head coach of the SOBC – Sunshine Coast swimming program.

That kind of support from family and friends throughout his community helped Mike get back on track after a one-time slip in November. While on his way to work, Mike stopped off to visit a friend and found himself in a bad situation, surrounded by friends who still smoked. He succumbed to the lure of the old patterns and had a smoke that day. Afterwards, he says, “I felt really bad about it.” He felt as though he was letting everyone down, especially his basketball team.

“But it’s strengthened my resolve now,” Mike says firmly. He has taken steps to stay out of situations like the one that sucked him back in briefly, and he’s finding ways to avoid being in places where others are smoking. He also keeps up his techniques of distracting himself any time he gets a craving by doing something different, like going for a walk or working on the computer, taking his mind off the pull.

Mike has been supplementing his quitting efforts with Nicorette gum and is doing well with his progression of reducing the amount of gum he is chewing.

Mike is cheered on in particular by his girlfriend Christel, a fellow SOBC – Sunshine Coast athlete whose own life has been affected by smoking. “She’s very much behind me on this,” Mike says gratefully. He also is helped by the support of SOBC – Sunshine Coast athletes such as Amber, a basketball teammate and fellow employee at the Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living, who regularly asks him how his quitting process is going.

He feels the sport improvements keenly too. “I’m feeling pretty encouraged about sports, and I really can’t wait for track,” Mike says.

This month we’d also like to send a shout out to Natalie, an SOBC – Princeton bowling coach, who decided to quit smoking this fall after hearing about SOBC’s Quit Now program.

Natalie (pictured at right, with bowling athletes Megan and Mark) had been able to stay away from smoking for 11 years. But due to external sources of stress, she started again four years ago. When she heard about SOBC’s Quit Now program and desire to help all athletes and coaches be the healthiest they can be, she decided to take the plunge again.

On October 24, she quit smoking. Natalie deserves plenty of applause because she is sticking to her commitment to quit despite challenges such as close family members still smoke around her (although they are supportive of her pledge). Natalie says she has found the Province of B.C.’s resources helpful in giving her ideas to stay strong against the call of cigarette cravings.

Well done, Mike and Natalie! Keep up the inspiring work.

About Quit Now

As of September 30, British Columbians have the choice of obtaining either nicotine gum or patches to help quit tobacco with a free supply for up to 12 weeks or obtaining coverage of prescribed smoking-cessation drugs through PharmaCare.

We are encouraging members of the SOBC family who want to take advantage of these tools to register with us. We can help connect you with more resources to help you kick the habit, and we will be here to cheer you on!

A Frequently Asked Question: Will there be a cost?

For Nicotine Replacement Therapy products: Nicotine patches and gum are 100 per cent covered, and there is no cost.

For Prescription Drugs (which work better): You will not have to pay for prescription drugs if you are registered in one of the following PharmaCare plans:

If you are registered for Fair PharmaCare* you might have to pay part or even all of the cost of these drugs depending on whether you have met your family`s annual deductible and family maximums.

Fair PharmaCare is the income-based plan for which any B.C. resident can register.

You can register for Fair PharmaCare either online or by phoning Health Insurance BC. Registration is free and there are no premiums to pay. Most people are already registered for Fair PharmaCare.