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Colorado woman who quit smoking encourages others who want to knock the habit in the new year

Smoking trial
Posted at 10:01 PM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 18:35:32-05

DENVER — According to health experts at the Mayo Clinic, mid-January tends to be the moment of truth for most people when it comes to following through on New Year's resolutions. A Colorado woman who quit smoking nearly two years ago hopes to encourage others with her journey.

"I would tell them to give it a try… and the QuitLine will walk them through it,” Denise Jenkins said.

This year, Jenkins will celebrate two years without smoking. She began smoking as a teenager and wasn't sure she'd ever be able to quit.

"We would get together as a group, a collective group of my friends, and we'd always say, 'OK we're going to stop smoking,' but I never really meant it," she said.

Jenkins said the state's QuitLine was instrumental in helping her finally kick the habit for good.

"They give you choices. You can do the patch and the lozenges. You can do the patch and the gum. And they provide you with more than enough to take care of it," she said.

National Jewish Health operates Colorado's QuitLine and others across the country.

"We actually operate QuitLines — that's the 1-800-QUIT-NOW phone number — in 20 states," said Thomas Ylioja, the clinical director for health initiatives at National Jewish.

When Coloradans call the QuitLine, they're connected with a coach and provided resources like nicotine patches, lozenges or gum. All of the resources are provided free through a partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

"It's been proven to be effective with helping people to quit smoking," Ylioja said. "We know that when people engage in telephone counseling, they get help with setting up a quick plan ordering nicotine replacement therapy — that they're much more likely to quit compared to say, trying to quit on their own without any support."

More than 45,000 Coloradans have enrolled in the state's QuitLine over the past two years.