"I started smoking at the age of 21 while in Europe vacationing in Florence, Italy. I am 55 now and I can remember being mesmerized at all of the people in the bars drinking and smoking and how cool they looked doing it. I would catch a glimpse of myself in the mirrors in the bar and I'd say to myself, 'Boy, you have arrived!' Every one smoked in Europe. And it was accepted everywhere.
At first I didn't like the taste of the cigarettes, but that would change the more that I drank. I would grow to love everything about smoking and I vowed to never quit. The only thing that changed was that I changed from regular to menthol. When I returned to the States I was looked upon as being different because I dressed and acted differently and I smoked! This would carry on for many years, too.
All of a sudden people near me started quitting and I would hear about cancer and magazine ads would appear that made me think about my 'best friend.' This would have me to reevaluate my love affair with cigarettes and it is then that I would start trying to quit.
One night while watching television an ad from California Smokers' Helpline appeared and it really struck home with me. I called the next day and the folks at Helpline really listened to me. I was to receive the patches by mail and was told that I could call anytime. That was in 2012 and I am still a non-smoker. They told me I would have an occasional urge, but the urges would not last long as time went on. And if I needed to I could call the Helpline.
I love being a non-smoker and if I can quit smoking, anyone can quit, especially with the help of California Smokers' Helpline."