Rego Park resident inspires others to live smoke-free with New York State Smokers’ Quitline

Rego Park
Photo courtesy New York State Smokers’ Quitline

Marc Schwartz of Rego Park is five months smoke-free thanks to the help of the New York State Smokers’ Quitline. As he enters the new year, he now aims to inspire others to give up the toxic habit for good.

Schwartz’s journey from becoming a regular smoker to smoke-free didn’t come without its fair share of challenges. The 66-year-old says he started smoking at the age of 15 and as he looked to embrace a healthier life, cigarettes were the one thing he couldn’t shake.

After facing a life-altering medical condition last summer, Schwartz finally committed to live a smoke-free life.

“I had been living with constant pain in my hip for many years,” said Schwartz. “As a condition of having hip replacement surgery, I needed to stop smoking and stay quit. I enjoyed smoking and had never tried quitting before, but I asked myself what I wanted more.”

Schwartz knew he wanted to live a healthier life, so he went to the NY State Quitline’s website and enrolled in the Learn2QuitNY program, a six-week text messaging service that offers daily affirmations to support him in his journey to quit smoking. Once enrolled, Schwartz was sent a free shipment of nicotine patches and nicotine lozenges in the mail, which he says helped tremendously.

“The lozenges kept my mouth busy and eased cigarette cravings,” said Schwartz. “I learned how to quit, I made it stick, and I was fully prepared to have surgery in early October.”

Since his commitment to living smoke-free and his total hip replacement surgery, Schwartz says these past few months have been life-changing. As he continues to live a healthy lifestyle, which has involved switching to a whole-foods and plant-based diet, Schwartz says he feels less winded in keeping up with his cardio routines.

“I’m saving money, I have a healthier lifestyle and there’s no more tobacco smell,” Schwartz added. “For anyone thinking about quitting, I think you have to make that decision for yourself – you can’t quit for someone else. To be successful, you’ve got to want it.”

The NY Quitline encourages all who are trying to quit smoking and/or vaping to use its free services, speak with its healthcare professionals, and access available support through healthcare insurance. For residents of the five boroughs, NYC Treats Tobacco can also recommend local and online cessation group classes.

The NY Quitline encourages all those living in New York State to make 2024 smoke-free by calling 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487), texting QUITNOW to 333888 or visiting nysmokefree.com. Participants can connect with a specialist through an online chat, request a call-back, order free nicotine replacement therapy medications and register for the six-week Learn2QuitNY text messaging program.