Hazen defeats the smoking bully

11/16/2015 By Sue Cody


Great American Smokeout Jeff Hazen“Cigarettes are not your friend. They are the bully in the room,” said Jeff Hazen, who recently quit smoking after 30 some years.


Hazen, who is the executive director of the Sunset Empire Transportation District said he was a closet smoker, who began smoking in his 20s. “It was the cool thing to do,” he said.


He had tried to quit a few times over the years. “I’ve always known it was a stupid habit, an expensive habit.”


Another motive in quitting was being on the Way to Wellville Advisory Council, Hazen said. “I felt it was important to set an example.”


Hazen said his parents had been smokers, but his mother hadn’t smoked in 25 years when she was diagnosed with lung cancer and died.


Recently Hazen became sick. “I got a bug,” he said. While ill, he smoked less, and he had just been diagnosed with diabetes. Taking into account his whole health picture, Hazen decided, “I’m ready. Let’s just do this.”


Hazen’s doctor gave him a prescription for nicotine patches. He stayed on the patches for the eight-week program, and then he was done.


“The first thing co-workers noticed was that my cough was gone,” Hazen said. He felt better and was trying not to gain too much weight.




Hazen’s advice to other smokers is, “You’ve got to be ready. The nice thing with the patch is, it comes with a coach. There are resources out there,” he said. “Be ready to commit and find help. There are nicotine replacement products like patches and gum.”


“Don’t hide a pack of cigarettes, just in case,” Hazen said.


He said he was thankful that smoking was banned in restaurants and bars.


His next step is to buy new luggage. He recently traveled and found his clothes smelled like smoke just from being in his suitcase.


He said the money he saves can fund his next vacation.