BeneQUIT Helps Two Colleagues Kick Smoking Habit

Kicking the habit is one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges a smoker can face.

Colleagures stopped smoking for their own health and for those around them.

Two colleagues remain tobacco free thanks to BeneQUIT, a tobacco cessation program offered by BeneFIT corporate wellness.

Brian Cara
Night Shift Supervisor, EMS Dispatch

Brian Cara says his reasons for putting down cigarettes once and for all were personal. While he was having a coffee and cigarette at his home, his beloved bichon frise, Snow Buddy, began wheezing beside him. In the next room, his fiancée-now wife,  Jadeen,  was coughing.

Cara realized he was endangering the lives of those he loved most and his fear is supported by statistics. According to the American Lung Association, secondhand smoke causes approximately 7,330 lung cancer and 33,950 heart disease deaths annually.

Cara is a retired police chief and a retired deputy fire chief. He now works as a supervising dispatcher with EMS in Hazleton, and decided not only to stop smoking, but to help others do the same.

“I realized I had no right to put other people’s lives at risk because of my bad habit, and I’ve been helping friends and colleagues come to the same conclusion,” says Cara. “I may not be running into burning buildings to save lives anymore, but if I save one or two by encouraging them to quit smoking, that’s a lot.”

He signed up for BeneQUIT, where counseling helped him maintain his decision to stay smoke free. The program also provided him with tools and resources to share.

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“My coach was by my side every step of the way ... and let me quit when I felt it was right for me.”

– Kim Hunsicker

Kim Hunsicker
Provider Based Coding Analyst

As she approached her 59th birthday, Kim Hunsicker was determined to quit cigarettes for good after 41 years. Her six-month cessation journey combined counseling along with a personalized pocket-sized booklet, where she collected tips from the BeneQUIT guidebook and her own research about how to stop smoking.

Smoking was comforting for Hunsicker and provided “me” time, so quitting was difficult, but she reached a tipping point and needed to prioritize her health. Hunsicker wanted to be at her best for her husband, son and grandson

She turned to the BeneQUIT program after having little success with quitting cold turkey.

Hunsicker says the program gave her the tools and encouragement she needed, along with the dedicated support of her health coach, who is certified in tobacco treatment.

“I was able to change my thoughts and habits. I admitted to myself that smoking isn’t good for my health, and I realized it was just a routine for me,” says Hunsicker. “My coach was by my side every step of the way. She didn’t badger me or make me feel like less of a person because I smoked. She encouraged me, let me vent, comforted me, assured me my struggles and feelings were common, and let me quit when I felt it was right for me.”

Hunsicker says consistent support was critical after setting a quit date 11 times and finally succeeding on the 12th. “That’s what got me to over a  year now without a cigarette,” says Hunsicker.

Looking to Quit?

BeneQUIT is guided by a tobacco treatment specialist who holds a National Certificate in Tobacco Treatment Practice.