Valley woman says `Smokeout` inspired her to quit

by Bob McClay – KTAR
November 18th, 2010

PHOENIX — Many Americans are trying to kick the habit on “Great American Smokeout” day.

Meanwhile, Valley resident Pat Capitano is celebrating one year without smoking, a success that began with last year’s “Smokeout.”

Capitano said she was hooked for 30 years on “Virginia Slims, Benson Hedges, the girly cigarettes.”

She tried to quit, but, “Mentally, I wasn’t ready to quit. I was trying to do it all on my own and not having any support from anybody.”

Capitano works at Banner Hospital and said her job helped her quit.

Banner’s Thunderbird campus went smoke-free on Jan. 1 of this year. The fear of getting cancer also helped. Capitano lit up 15 cigarettes a day, despite several attempts at quitting.

“Hypnosis, I had done cold turkey, I had done the patches, I had done the Nicorette gum, I had basically tried them all,” she said, until — inspired by last year’s Great American Smokeout, she triumphed, helped by the prescription medication Chantix.

Since she quit smoking, Capitano said things taste better and her sense of smell is better, too.

“Not all of the smells I smell — especially working in a hospital — are good smells,” she laughs, “but I smell all the smells now.”

Her advice to people who want to quit smoking is to take it one day at a time.

“It’s not easy to quit smoking,” Capitano said, “but just take it a day at a time. If you can make it through the Great American Smokeout day, then try doing it the next day. And once you’ve done it for two days, try for three days.”

Now, she said she doesn’t miss smokes a bit. Among Valley events on Great American Smokeout day were programs for smoking moms and their children offered by United Methodist Outreach Ministry. The programs are geared to offer support to mothers who want to quit smoking, including “cold turkey” sandwiches for lunch.

The Arizona Smokers’ Helpline participated in those programs and encouraged smokers who want to quit to seek help by calling 1-800-556-6222 or going to its website at The helpline — funded by the state tax on tobacco products — has been in operation since 1995.

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