Local woman shares journey to quit smoking

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Action News spoke with 54-year-old Michele Pleasant, whose story about how she was able to give up smoking may serve as an inspiration to those looking to do the same.

Pleasant is a mother of three and has a full-time career as an executive secretary for the Philadelphia Police Department.

She's also an ex-smoker.

But she used to be hooked on the habit.

Pleasant said she smoked a pack a day for 35 years.

"So whenever you had stress in your life the cigarettes would calm you down so it was a crutch," said Pleasant.

But then two things happened that made her re-evaluate.

She found cigarettes in her teenage son's pocket, and her mother, Dorothy, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Her mom, who also smoked, asked Michele to quit.

"She just looked at me and said, 'Daughter you have to stop smoking,' and it kind of hit me," said Pleasant.

Her mom passed away and it would take another few years, but two years ago Pleasant officially quit.

She got help from the PA Free Quitline.

It provides nicotine replacement patches and also a quit coach.

"On days when you felt like you really needed a cigarette, they may send you a text saying, 'How are you doing today?' " said Pleasant. "So they kind of kept you where you need to be."

Now as a nonsmoker, Pleasant said she has more energy and can breathe easier. Her son is also not smoking.

She tells others, it may take several attempts to quit, but keep trying.

And she shares the key to her success.

"You have to want to be a nonsmoker, an ex-smoker because if it's not rooted in your mind, it's not going to happen so you got to want it, really, really want it." said Pleasant.

Resources to help you quit smoking:

PA Free Quitline:
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