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Smoking cessation: Clarence’s success story

Clarence Lundberg's former co-workers thought he would never stop smoking.
Clarence Lundberg quit after 45 years of being a smoker.

Clarence Lundberg's former co-workers thought he would never stop smoking.

After all, wouldn't quitting smoking after 45 years be impossible? Clarence started smoking when he was only 12 years old, and got used to waking up in the morning and starting his day with a cup of coffee and a cigarette. He enjoyed the "harsh" taste of cigarette smoke, preferring unfiltered cigarettes to filtered ones that tasted"watered down" compared with the real deal.

So why did Clarence decide to take the big step toward quitting tobacco?

"It all started in the fall of 2011, when I went to the doctor for a regular check-up. I was lucky to be asked if I wanted to take part in a lung test program, and this is when I was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease," he said. "I was concerned when the research doctor told me I could continue to keep smoking, but I would need an oxygen tank next to the bed in a year or two. That's something my new girlfriend, and now wife, would definitely not find attractive."

Clarence is a success story. Through the Smoking Cessation Program and additional coaching and support with QuitNow services, he has now been smoke-free for over a year and a half.

"When the doctor told me I was facing a future with an oxygen tank, I tried to quit smoking straight away. And I did quit, but I realized I needed more support and help when I relapsed and began smoking again. I took steps to quit with the Smoking Cessation Program and used the patches and the coaching programs. I liked the patches in particular, as they took away my cravings for a morning cigarette."

The future looks brighter and clearer for Clarence, who experienced a multitude of benefits once he stopped smoking. He used to wake up in the morning with a persistent cough, sometimes coughing for over five minutes straight.

"Before I quit smoking, I wouldn't have believed how much healthier I could feel. My circulation got much better-my hands and feet have colour and are warm instead of white and cold. I don't have an oxygen tank next to the bed and my morning cough is gone. I have much better stamina, and I can easily swim 2,000 metres and close to 20 metres under water."

His improvement was noticeable to family, friends and co-workers.

"My friends and co-workers tell me I look much better now, and I have even started growing some hair back on my head. I look forward to many more years with my new wife and my family. I can visit my grandchildren in Sweden and know I will have more smoke-free years to visit with them. My family is proud of my commitment to stop smoking."

What kind of advice does Clarence offer to others looking to improve their lives by going smoke-free?

"No matter how many years you smoke, you can instantly feel better if you quit. Try replacing cigarettes with healthy habits like snacking on fruit and drinking water. The benefits are great and immediate. I also feel it is a great incentive of the British Columbia government to support the Smoking Cessation Program and QuitNow. They were a great help for me, and I think they could help many more just like me to quit. After all, I'm the one they said would never quit, and now look at me.

When I decided to go public about quitting smoking, I became a role model. I am happy that I quit and I would like everybody who smokes to have the same positive experience I had. The years ahead look much brighter now, when not clouded in smoke."

Terry Lake, Minister of Health, says, "It's so important to hear from people like Clarence. He is evidence that by accessing supports and services from the Smoking Cessation Program and QuitNow, long-time smokers can take that big step to quitting forever."

Scott McDonald, BC Lung Association CEO, says, "Quitting smoking isn't easy. Clarence showed that by trying hard, asking for help and following through with his commitment to his family, he could quit. I hope his story encourages many others to call QuitNow or visit for help and to learn about the Smoking Cessation Program today."

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