"The helpful hints, guidelines, and tips for success provided by the program were very helpful."
“When I turned 60, I had outlived my father by 4 years,” remembers Bob Debes, an Information Assurance Engineer with Lockheed Martin in Montgomery County, PA, “I said, ‘I’m rolling these dice too many times.’”
His father passed away at 56 from a heart attack, having smoked for most of his life. Bob knows smoking was a factor in his father’s early death.
Bob started smoking in college, first a pipe, then cigarettes. He struggled with the decision to quit for many years. When Lockheed converted to a smoke-free workplace, he felt that made it harder for him to quit. Once he decided to quit on his own, he reached out to the Quit for Life® Program, which he knew about from the HealthWorks benefits program at Lockheed.
While quitting, he used phone calls with his Quit Coach®; Web Coach®, the program’s interactive website; and Chantix® to help him through. “The helpful hints, guidelines, and tips for success provided by the program were very helpful,” Bob said.
He also had a co-worker, who gave him sugarless gum and went on walks with him to help curb cravings, as his main support while quitting. Thinking about how difficult the first day was is all the motivation Bob needs to stay quit.
He has now been tobacco free for almost five years. His wife, who is also a former smoker, is thrilled, and they support each other to stay quit. His doctor is “much happier” and considers his quit a very positive step. Even his son, who is still a smoker, is pleased Bob has quit, primarily because of his family history.
“He’s happier that I have taken steps to prolong my life, or at least not shorten it,” Bob says of his son’s response.
Since quitting, he has referred several people to the program, saying, “Quit for Life® was a big reason that I was able to quit.” And, five years later, he continues to celebrate his quitting anniversary with many of his friends and family.
“I remind people that it’s been five years, and I mainly bask in the congratulations,” Bob said. “It helps when I tell people how old I really am, and they tell me I look 10 years younger. I know several people that knew me before I quit, and they tell me how much better and healthier I look.”
At this point, he no longer has significant urges to smoke. He does admit that occasionally, when he goes outside to walk the dog, he will reach for a pack without thinking about it, but then he just says, “What am I doing? I don’t do that anymore.”
Bob has experienced many benefits of being a non-smoker.
"I can smell things, I can taste things, I can take long walks without getting out of breath. I don't get colds as often," he said. "I used to get a spring cold and a fall cold. Now I can't remember the last time I was sick. I don't have as many sinus problems."