Advance with MUSC Health

“I Put the Cigarettes Down:” How One Woman Quit Smoking

Advance With MUSC Health
December 04, 2023
A woman breaks a cigarette in an effort to stop smoking.

Millions of Americans quit smoking during The Great American Smokeout each November. Most smokers want to quit, yet only one in 10 succeed. After a long battle, one woman shares how she finally conquered cigarettes with the help of an MUSC program.

Latrina Reid is a woman of great inner strength and resolve. She's overcome drug addiction, reversed a diabetes diagnosis, and lost nearly 200 pounds on her journey to better health.

But quitting cigarettes was the biggest challenge she faced, one she lost repeatedly.

"I couldn't stop cigarettes. I had been trying to quit since my husband, a heavy smoker, was diagnosed with cancer for the second time," says Reid, 48. "I have always known it wasn't good, but it was addictive. I just didn't know how to go about quitting." She tried medicines, going cold turkey and socializing only with non-smokers. She had a smoking cessation coach three times.

"I did all the things you're supposed to do. But I couldn't follow through," she recalls. Then her husband's lung and throat cancer came back for the third time.

"It was too many warnings; I knew I had to quit, to start thinking about my health and longevity, being around for the kids and grandkids," she says. "After my husband's death, I put the cigarettes down."

MUSC Health patient, Latrina Reid, smiles with her daughter, Alexis. 
Latrina Reid and her daughter, Alexis.

MUSC Health Tobacco Treatment Program

She turned to the MUSC Health Tobacco Treatment Program and clinical pharmacy specialist Emily Ware, Pharm.D., who helps smokers quit.

The first few days after quitting, Reid knew staying busy would help her not think about smoking. "I cleaned our house; I helped family and neighbors with projects.

Reid also calls her sponsor almost every day. "Now I look at the cigarettes like I looked at drug addiction. I have a sponsor. I treat it just like another addiction."

When the cravings come, she goes back to a Narcotics Anonymous technique she learned. "I try and sit still. I sit on my hands. I repeat the steps or pray. I tell myself, ‘You don't have to have it; it's not good for you. It will take you away from your family.' Then I take a shower, read a book, watch a show, go for a walk. I know from Emily and my coaches that I have to do something positive to change my behavior."

Ware also made Reid aware that smoking increases pain. "My arthritis was really bad, and just as Emily said, it got worse when I smoked." She also learned smoking slows the healing process, so she's primed for a speedy recovery after her upcoming knee surgery.

Smoking Cessation for All: Inspiring Family to Quit

The day Reid quit, her daughter Alexis also put down her vaping. The two walk together regularly. "We can breathe better and walk longer," says Reid. The whole family, including Alexis's husband, just signed up for a gym membership.

We're feeling better, eating better," says Reid. "My bloodwork and panels look great! I've been able to reverse all my health issues. We're all implementing healthy ideas, getting us where we should be.

"Watching a family member die at home opened my eyes," she says of her husband's death. She's staying focused on taking care of herself so she's around for her kids. "It's been a long road, but it was worth it," she says. "I can run with the grandkids!"

To learn more about quitting smoking, contact the MUSC Health Tobacco Treatment Program.