Mr. Mckenzie receiving recognition for being smoke free

When "Quitting" is a Good Thing

When he watched a man puff a cigarette and blow smoke rings, Mr. Edward McKenzie thought it was really cool. Little did he know that the trick that once fascinated him would one day affect him in an interesting way.

Mr. McKenzie started smoking at age 21—even though he knew it didn’t make sense.  When he saw an older gentleman smoking and blowing smoke rings, he wanted to learn the trick himself. “If you want to blow smoke rings,” said the gentleman, “you have to learn how to inhale smoke first.” And so, McKenzie’s addiction to cigarettes began. 

Read more about Edward's story.

Sometimes It Runs in the Family

Ernest Smith being awarded for being smoke free.

Sometimes "it runs in the family" is not a good thing. When it comes to bad habits that are passed down, family is not always your friend. Ernest Smith knows this firsthand.

Smith was raised in a family of smokers. He decided that since everyone else smoked, it was only natural for him to do so, too. He never liked cigarettes, but eventually, after smoking for a while, they became his crutch and best friend. Throughout his tenure of smoking, he noticed his health was declining. "I knew something was bad because my cholesterol was high and I started having chest pain," said Smith.

After four years, he knew he needed to quit so he tried the gamut of smoking cessation strategies. From nicotine patches, nicotine chewing gum, and a 12-step program— nothing worked for him. Eventually, he called the 1-800-QUIT-NOW helpline and they gave him the phone number to the Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program at University of Maryland Prince George's Hospital Center.

Read more about Ernest's story.