More than 3,000 North Dakotans use the North Dakota Quit Line each year to help them quit smoking. A little over a third of those are successful.
Jay Davis has been a staple to Minot radio stations since the early 2000s. You may recognize his voice, but did you know he was a smoker for over three decades?
Davis said, “I was a good smoker, I mean I looked good, I could play cigarette tricks, I blew the best smoke rings.”
However, he said the perception of smoking has drastically changed from when he picked up that first cigarette.
He said, “I’ve lived, and smoked, or smoked, long enough to have smoked on airplanes, I smoked in a grocery store, I smoked in a hospital waiting room!”
Davis said he would sometimes go out in the frigid North Dakota winter air to smoke.
“As society progressed and moved on and smoking became a little more taboo, my smoking habit became more of a solitary thing, and I’m not a solitary type guy,” said Davis.
And one day, that all changed.
He said, “My older sister developed lung cancer, and I watched the courage and dignity with which she fought that disease.”
It was then, the day before Mother’s Day in 2015, that Jay smoked the last cigarette out of his pack — never touching a cigarette again.
He said his willpower and inspiration kept him smoke free for the last six years.
“With the right inspiration, the right motivation, maybe a nicotine lozenge or patches, it’s not that hard to do,” said Davis.
Susan Koehler from Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health says treatments like lozenges and nicotine gum can help push through a craving.
Koehler said, “A craving usually lasts between three to five minutes, so it’s working through that.”
She said other strategies, such as the 4 D’s approach, can also help push through.
“Drink water, delay, so maybe pick up the phone and call somebody, take deep breaths, or do something else,” said Koehler.
Davis said, “Life is so much better on the other side.”
His sister eventually lost her courageous battle with cancer after two years.