Bob Parkerson began smoking at age 15. When his cardiologist recommended stopping smoking four years ago, Parkerson, then 72, was skeptical that he would succeed.
"I smoked two and a half packs a day," Parkerson explained. "I tried to stop before and it did not work, I would smoke cigarettes again."
His doctor advised Parkerson to sign up for the smoking cessation class Freedom from Smoking at Carson Tahoe Health
Individual counseling can also be reached by calling 1-800-QuitNow.
Physician Carmella Downing teaches the class in the hospital.
"Everyone has a reason to give up, but I encourage people to have their own reasons," she said. "I have some people who say:" I'm here because my doctor told me "or" My wife said I have to come to class. "But I encourage people, theirs to find own personal reasons to stop and do it for them. "
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It worked for Parkerson, who has been smoke free for four years.
"All of a sudden I started listening (downing)," he said. "What she told us in the classes made a lot of sense, I started doing what she asked us to do, and it worked, it worked great."
He saw his life turn as a result. [1
" My health has improved a lot. My lungs are improving every day.
Linda Graves is a volunteer assistant to Downing's program Graves & # 39; s husband had just enrolled in the course when he diagnosed lung cancer and died shortly thereafter.
She urges smokers to quit while she is still have a chance to know the heartbreak, which often waits when they do not.
"It's really hard to watch someone you care so much about slowly committing suicide because that's it "At some point they will die and it will probably be too early. And you do not want to see that.
Carson City Health and Human Services statistics show that one in five Carson City residents are smokers.
"The good news is that quitting smoking can undo damage that has already been done," said Sandy Wartgow , Health Nurse at Carson City Health and Human Services. " The benefits of stopping already start one hour after the last cigarette. Cessation reduces the risk of cancer, heart and lung disease and other diseases. "
Parkerson said his success proves it's possible."
"If you want to quit, please," he said. It's never too late to finish. No way. "