By age 33, Kristy, a mother from Tennessee, had already been a heavy smoker for 20 years. She developed smoker’s cough and shortness of breath. Kristy tried using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as a way to cut back, but she continued to smoke regular cigarettes. Kristy’s cough didn’t get better, and eventually, she went back to smoking only cigarettes. A few months later, Kristy’s right lung collapsed. She spent 2 weeks in the hospital on pain medicine while doctors inserted chest tubes and did surgery to repair her collapsed lung. Kristy’s doctors also found early COPD, a lung disease that makes it harder and harder to breathe. COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. That was when Kristy stopped smoking cigarettes completely.
Today, Kristy is thankful that she quit smoking. “I can actually breathe,” she said. “I can play with my kids. When I smoked, I had no energy. It just affected my whole life!” Kristy hopes that sharing her story will help other people quit smoking as soon as possible.