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Jerry Muterspaugh and Smoke-free Living


For the first time in 36 years, Jerry Muterspaugh is free of his cigarette addiction—and he owes it all to “having a plan.” Jerry began to think seriously about his health at age 45, when he learned he had type-2 diabetes. The birth of his first grandchild, Sophie, a few years later was another wake-up call for him. Finally, at age 50, Jerry decided it was time to quit smoking for good. He turned himself over to the Tobacco Cessation Coordinator at Allegiance Health. “I’m a fairly athletic guy,” Jerry said, “and I’d been noticing the toll that cigarettes were taking on my physical endurance. I was also concerned because smoking is especially harmful to people with diabetes—it’s kind of like putting another bullet in the chamber.” At the Coordinator’s suggestion, Jerry asked his family physician about getting a prescription for a nicotine-free medication effective in lessening withdrawal symptoms and blocking the nicotine receptors in the brain that smokers develop. Also helpful for Jerry was asking for support from friends and family on Facebook. “I knew my desire not to disappoint those who care about me would be a huge motivator, and I was right. My brother in California has become my coach and biggest supporter.” Once he stopped smoking, Jerry had to mentally switch to being a non-smoker and needed to divert his attention when his smoking triggers go off. “I learned to always carry drinking straws, sunflower seeds and sugar-free gum or candy with me and to take a quick walk until the urge passes,” Jerry said. After several months as a non-smoker, Jerry is “breathing so much better” and has more stamina when playing golf and walking the course. “Everything tastes and smells better, too,” he said. Jerry is proud of his accomplishment and looks forward to enjoying time with his granddaughter for many years to come.