Hospital employee's habit went up in smoke

November 21, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

HAGERSTOWN - Four years after puffing her last Virginia Slims menthol, Angie Rowe is still smoke free.

"Free, free free. Isn't that something," said Rowe, 36, of Falling Waters, W.Va.

The Herald-Mail has followed Rowe's progress in her battle with nicotine, which began during the Great American Smokeout of 1998.

After starting to smoke in college, she had become a five-pack-a-week smoker.

Rowe decided to quit when her employer, Washington County Hospital, offered a smoking cessation class. She put on a nicotine patch and walked away from the habit.

Rowe said she's had her ups and downs over the last four years, but she has managed to fight off the cigarette craving.


Since quitting, she and her husband, George, have adopted two children. Kaylee, 4, and her brother Cody, 8, were previously foster children.

"There's no down time at my house. I've definitely had the cravings more often," she said.

But the children are also a motivation for her not to smoke, she said.

She has resisted plenty of opportunities to fall off the wagon over the years.

Cigarette-maker Philip Morris mailed her a coupon for a free pack she didn't use.

She has gone to NASCAR races where sponsors such as Winston routinely gave away free cigarettes.

On a trip to Las Vegas, women carrying trays of cigars and cigarettes tempted her at every turn.

Rowe said she feels much better and much healthier now. Although she was recovering from a cold this week, she said it did not linger like the colds she got when she smoked.

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