She quit smoking for love

November 20, 2008 3:22:55 PM PST
It's been more than 30 years since the first Great American Smokeout, a time organizers hope will inspire many smokers to stop. If you are a smoker, what would it take for you to quit? Would you do it for love?

Lisa Petrino had been smoking since she was 16, several years before she started dating Patrick Brogan.

During their courtship, she knew he didn't like it, "But figured if he was dating me, it wasn't exactly a deal-breaker, until he sort of said, 'I'm not going to marry someone who smokes.' "

Lisa got the message.

She remembered an ad she heard for New Jersey QuitNet, and the next day, logged onto the website, to read all she could about how to quit.

The site offers professional counseling, by phone, online, and through special Quit Centers, to help people break free from cigarettes.

Lisa started by cutting back. "I stopped smoking at work. I wouldn't go on breaks anymore, so I was really smoking only when I'd get home after work."

And then she made the big break from cigarettes -

"I used the patch for 13 days for quitting, and then on the 14th day, it was the last one in the box, and I said - I'm going to try not to use it. And I didn't," she recalls.

Although Patrick and her family were very supportive, Lisa says her online friends at QuitNet made the difference - one day at a time.

Lisa says, "By writing about it, and talking about it, there was always somebody who knew exactly how I was feeling, and could sympathize and empathize."

She says they navigated her through situations when she used to smoke. "If I knew I was going out at night, going out to a bar or something, I would say, 'Hey, how can I get through this, and people would have suggestions."

"It just sort of compound. I knew if I could get through that thing yesterday, I know I can get through this today, and it sort of builds and builds. And then eventually, it doesn't even occu, and you're just sort of living your life."

Lisa not only stays in contact with her QuitNet support group friends, they get together several times a year. In fact, she was so close to her QuitNet contacts, that when the couple did get married last year, and Lisa Petrino became Lisa Brogan, "They threw us a wedding shower."

It's been 4 years since Lisa quit.... and although she's occasionally been tempted to smoke, she says it's not worth throwing away what she's accomplished.

One final note - Lisa says she is healthier now. I felt like I used to get a cold every other month. I used to have a lot more headaches than I do now, and I never really attributed it to smoking till after I quit."

Here's where to find help, NJ QuitLine: 1-866-NJSTOPS, NJ QuitNet, click here. And for the QuitCenters, contact the QuitLine or QuitNet.

In Pennsylvania, call 1-800 QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669), or log onto, the state Department of Health web page,.

In Delaware, log onto QuitNet.

The American Cancer Society has its own help site.

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