How did you quit smoking?

A friend of mine called me this past Saturday and I told her, "Yeah, I quit smoking." She said, "Well, Rubie, you've never been a big smoker anyway." I've always been a real light smoker. I think I did it just to fit in. I was at a workshop down in Columbus, Ohio, for five days and I said, "Well, if I can quit smoking for five days, I can just quit altogether." That's what I did. I just decided to quit. The weather gets so bad here in Lansing, and I watch all the people standing outside smoking in cold and I think, "Oh no, I can't go through that, no way am I going through that." No way am I going to go out there. It's just better for my health.


Do you still have a desire to smoke?

For me, it was more social than anything. A pack of cigarettes would last me a whole week. That's the reason why I said "Why not quit?" You still need the desire to quit. I still have that desire from time to time to smoke. By the time I think about asking somebody for one, the desire is gone.


Do you notice smoke more now since you have quit?

I hate it when someone who smokes comes over to my house and I realize all that smoke has burned into my eyes. At a Christmas/New Year's Eve party at my brother's house in Chicago, I almost lost my voice. I didn't realize smoking was that bad. You don't know until you quit. I just smoke, and the smoke is in my clothes and in my hair. You don't realize it is a problem until you stop. It can affect others, as well.


Did your kids help you stop smoking?

I guess I was like a lot of other parents: this is my house and I can do whatever I want to. I didn't think about the kids. My kids would ask me, "Mom, why do you smoke?" I guess waiting for them to go off to college is when I realized I had to stop smoking. Smoking wasn't something I did everyday. It was something I did as a social thing. Neither one of my kids smoked. They liked the idea of coming home and not smelling smoke. People would come to my house and ask if they can smoke. Once they find out I can't smoke they end up going out on my front porch to smoke anyway, just out of respect. You hate to tell people, "No!"