GREENFIELD — It hit her when she was playing soccer one day.
Autumn Stoner was running, being active — and she wasn’t coughing. She didn’t feel like there was someone sitting on her chest.
That’s when she realized quitting smoking had changed her life.
The Greenfield woman used a combination of smoking cessation resources, from classes at Hancock Regional Hospital and her church to the Indiana Tobacco Quitline, to quit smoking while she was pregnant with her youngest daughter, Kaitlyn. Her workplace at the time also offered incentives for those who could quit smoking for a year, she said.
That was almost two years ago. Stoner is pregnant with her third child, due in June, and with the cessation resources available in Hancock County, she has been able to keep from starting smoking again.
Using multiple smoking cessation resources, like the Quitline, a phone- or text-based help line, can help people stop smoking permanently, say health care advocates.
The Quitline (1-800-QUIT NOW) is celebrating a decade of helping thousands of Hoosiers like Stoner overcome their tobacco addiction and live healthier lives.
Since it began in March 2006, the Quitline has helped more than 114,000 tobacco users quit through its free phone counseling and its Web-based service, called Web Coach, and supplementary texting service, Text2Quit. It has also provided help for pregnant smokers who want to quit through programs that emphasize the benefits of quitting for both mother and baby and encourage smoking partners to quit as well.
Stoner had quit before, while pregnant with her oldest child, Allison, but started again after the baby was born. She’d initially started smoking daily at age 15, after all, and the habit was a hard one to kick.
The biggest challenge for her while trying to quit was changing her attitude about the cessation classes, she said. But she learned a lot, including that smoking affects every cell in your body, not just your lungs.
Education, prevention and workplace incentives are important aspects to helping community members quit smoking, said Brandee Bastin, Hancock Regional Hospital tobacco initiatives coordinator.
She said the Quitline is especially helpful for pregnant women trying to kick the habit, as they receive extra services to assist them.
Stoner said approaching smoking as not just a habit but an addiction also helped her to quit.
“That hit home more than anything,” she said. “I don’t want my kids to be the children of addicts. I want to be a good example.”
Around the same time, her father, a longtime smoker, was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, nonreversible asthma and others, according to the COPD Foundation website.
That was the final thing that made Stoner decide never to pick up another cigarette.
Now, she is a smoking cessation advocate at the local and state level, and she helps to teach the “Rising from the Ashes” smoking cessation class offered at Brandywine Christian Church; it’s the same class that helped her quit.
Her husband, Brian Stoner, said he loves to see how his wife has changed since quitting smoking: She’s more energetic, more focused on spending time with her children — even more pleasant in the morning, he jokes.
“She used to be like, ‘Don’t talk to me before coffee and a cigarette,’” he said.
I don’t want my kids to be the children of addicts.
-Autumn Stoner, smoking cessation advocate
Smoking Cessation resources
Commit to Quit Smoking Cessation Classes, Hancock Regional Hospital
— 4 week program, meeting on Mondays and class participants must attend each week. This program utilizes the American Cancer Society’s Freshstart Program as a guide to conducting classes.
Indiana Tobacco Quitline
“Rising From the Ashes” smoking cessation class
Brandywine Community Church, 1551 E New Road, Greenfield, IN 46140; 317-462-4777 firstname.lastname@example.org