Cold turkey quitter from Conway gets frozen turkey

Lung Association rewards Conway woman and 112 others for one month of no smoking

Jonathan Riley jriley@digbycourier.ca
Published on December 22, 2016

Faleesha LeBlanc and her son Jacob pick out a turkey with Linda Gregory of the Nova Scotia Lung Association Dec. 19.

©Jonathan Riley

DIGBY, N.S. – Faleesha LeBlanc is done smoking and she has a turkey to prove it.

The Conway woman signed up for the Nova Scotia Lung Association’s Cold Turkey Challenge, Nov. 14 to Dec. 14, and made it the full 30 days without lighting up.

“I was tempted a few times, you know when life gets stressful,” said LeBlanc Dec. 21 while picking up her turkey at the Digby Sobeys. “Sometimes I just said to myself, ‘Man I could really go for a cigarette right now’ but then I realized I didn’t have to have a cigarette.”

LeBlanc says her cravings only lasted eight to minutes at a time.

“If you can make it for ten minutes, it’s over,” said LeBlanc.

She said it was also important to keep busy and keep her mind off smoking.

Adding a bit to LeBlanc’s stress this past month, her two-year old Jacob is teething; but on the other hand, she says she wasn’t around smokers during the challenge.

“It would have been ten times harder if I had smelled it or if I saw people smoking, but I don’t live with a smoker, I’m not around smokers all day, I wasn’t seeing it all the time,” she said.

LeBlanc is now into her second month without cigarettes: she was using an e-vape leading up to the start of the challenge.

She says she did gain the normal 15 pounds that most quitters gain but she isn’t too upset about that.

“One thing at a time. Next it’s exercise,” she said.

LeBlanc has quit before – for as long as eight months once – but this time she is determined not to smoke again.

“As long as I don’t buy a pack, I won’t start smoking,” she said.

LeBlanc’s older sister, Megan Locke of Shelburne, also signed up for the challenge after seeing LeBlanc post about it on Facebook.

And she too went the 30 days and earned a turkey.

Caitlin Gray of the Nova Scotia Lung Association says 330 smokers signed up for the challenge and 113 stuck it out to the end.

“To have a 33 per cent success rate is exciting,” said Gray. “We are looking forward to encouraging even more Nova Scotians to quit next year. Most of all, it is so nice to know that 113 Nova Scotians will be breathing better and have healthier lungs this holiday season.”

Last year, the first year for the challenge, 120 smokers signed up and 30 managed to quit for the month.

The Lung Association offered information and inspiration to start the challenge but also started a Facebook support group where the quitters could check in on each other and offer support when someone was having a bad day.

“The Facebook group was very helpful,” says LeBlanc. “Everyone was so supportive and all of the positive comments really help.”

The Lung Association delivered turkeys door-to-door in Halifax but for people outside Metro, like LeBlanc and Locke, the Lung Association mailed out Sobey’s gift cards.

LeBlanc stopped into the Digby Sobeys just when turkeys were on sale and picked out a big one for a big family dinner.

“This is going to feed a lot of people and they will all see this and know it’s because I quit smoking,” said LeBlanc.

For more on the Cold Turkey Challenge check out ns.lung.ca

[Turkeys for going cold turkey - Lung Association looking for 500 quitters, Nov. 3]

jriley@digbycourier.ca