Former Smokers Raise Money to Help Others Have Access to Tobacco Cessation Programs

Northwestern Medicine
Pulmonology August 12, 2014
Quitting smoking is difficult. Doing it alone is even more so.

A group of former smokers who quit tobacco through the Northwestern Medicine® Tobacco Cessation Program are joining together on Thursday, August 21, at the 4th Annual No More Lip Service Fundraiser. All proceeds from the event help cover the cost of the Northwestern Medicine smoking cessation program for low-income smokers who want to quit.

“They all want to pay it forward,” said Carol Southard, RN, MSN, a tobacco treatment specialist at Northwestern who has been helping people quit smoking for more than 25 years. “They want to do whatever they can to let people know that whatever income level you are at, the cost of the program never needs to be a barrier to quitting.”

Leslie Shoemaker quit through Southard’s program after 29 years as a smoker. Shoemaker is now the chairperson of the No More Lip Service event.

“Carol is passionate about helping people quit and I felt I needed the structure of showing up each week and being accountable for not smoking,” Shoemaker said. “I owe her for helping me to take back my life. I feel so much less stressed from not smoking.”

Southard, whose says her program can help you quit smoking “even if you don’t want to,” leads an evidence-based group program through the Northwestern Medicine Osher Center for Integrative Health. Young people and those with low education levels or low incomes are most at risk for tobacco addiction, Southard said.

Beth Zachara, auction chair for the event, described quitting smoking as “the most difficult and the easiest thing I have ever done for myself.”

“The support I received through the smoking cessation program at Northwestern and from Carol made my decision to quit easier than I ever thought imaginable,” she said. “Now I have the opportunity to give that support to people who are going through the same thing that I went through.”

Special guests include Bechara Choucair, MD, MS, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health, and Rick Kogan, WGN radio host, who will be the evening’s emcee. The fundraiser is from 5:30 – 9 p.m., Thursday, August 21, at the Homewood Suites & Hampton Inn Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile, 150-160 E. Huron Street. Tickets are $50 in advance or $60 at the door. If you are unable to attend, you can still make a donation to Northwestern Medicine’s Smoking Cessation program here.

For more information about the Northwestern Medicine Tobacco Cessation Program, call 312.926.8400.

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