November 17, 2016 | by City of Hope
More than two years ago, a strange, wheezing sound woke up Joe Coussa in the middle of the night.
“I was scared,” Coussa, then 64, said. “I didn’t really know where that sound was coming from. And then I realized it was coming from me because I was so congested.”
Back then, Coussa was also a heavy smoker – he smoked more than a pack of cigarettes a day. He would frequently catch colds, which often turned into bronchitis.
That experience was a wake-up call for Coussa. He decided that night he would give up a smoking, and he knew it wouldn’t be easy.
The La Verne, California, resident had quit in 1992, but started smoking again three years later. He tried again and it worked for a few years.
But by summer of 2014, he was smoking again.
City of Hope’s Smoking Cessation Group is what finally helped him stop smoking in January 2015.
“Don’t try to go at it alone,” said Coussa, who took varenicline, a smoking cessation medicine, to help him quit and worked closely with City of Hope smoking cessation experts. “You need support and the group is here to help you. We are all friends here and want to see you succeed.”
Today is the Great American Smokeout – a nationwide event aimed at encouraging smokers to quit that’s sponsored by the American Cancer Society. City of Hope medical professionals will be stationed at the Geri & Richard Brawerman Ambulatory Care Center, the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center and other locations at the Duarte campus to distribute materials to help smokers quit.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and the second most common cancer, according to Brian Tiep, M.D., director of pulmonary rehabilitation and smoking cessation at City of Hope. Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of many cancers and chronic disease.
Tiep, who helped Coussa kick the addiction, shares these tips to help people who are trying to quit smoking.
Learn more about our lung cancer treatments and programs. If you are looking for a second opinion or consultation about your treatment, request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-HOPE. Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.