Consumer Tobacco Advocates
Azeem is an ex-smoker who quit 9 years ago. He attributes his success in quitting to using Nicotine Replacement Therapy and to support from the Tobacco Dependence Program at Rutgers. He loves the feeling of being able to breathe fully without coughing and appreciates the return of his ability to workout and be active. He also very much enjoys being a Consumer Tobacco Advocate and helping others achieve their goal of quitting. He has a Bachelors degree in Biology and also attended medical school and film school for some time.
Deidre is an ex-smoker who attributes her success to attendance at support groups, use of the website www.njquitnet.com and the use of nicotine replacement therapy. She started attending Dr. Williams’ quit smoking support group over 13 years ago. She made many (8) attempts at stopping smoking before this last successful quit attempt. She has finally stopped for good this time. Quitting smoking has enabled her to live a much healthier lifestyle, which includes working out at a gym and eating healthy foods. Deidre is interested in speaking to consumers and helping them quit smoking and live healthier lives. It has been 11 1/2 years since Deidre had her last cigarette. Deidre has also saved $168,000 as a result of quitting smoking.
Lisa joined CHOICES in October 2013. She is a former long time smoker who admits she was in denial about the health and financial consequences of smoking. Lisa feels fortunate to have found help at the Tobacco Dependence Program at Rutgers, where she had individualized counseling, nicotine replacement therapy and joined the support group. On her second quit attempt, she was successful and remains smoke free. Lisa’s message to consumers is since she has quit, she feels better, breathes better, looks better, and has extra money in her pocket.
Cleo is an ex-smoker who quit 19 years ago and joined CHOICES in January 2019. Cleo started smoking around 9th grade in high school partially to be cool with her friends but then could not stop easily. She feels fortunate to have found help from one of the Robert Wood Johnson quit centers with the assistance of nicotene replacement therapy. She loves the feeling of participating in activities without having to have a cigarette. Food tastes better, and her clothes and her hair smell fresh. Cleo knows how hard it is to find a new way to live without cigarettes after depending on them daily for years for more than a decade. She enjoys helping people quit smoking when they are ready. Cleo has a bachelor’s degree in fine art from Rutger's Mason Gross School of the Arts and is currently working on an MS in Rehabilitation Counseling.
Wayne is a former Consumer Tobacco Advocate. He is an artist and musician. His interest in CHOICES follows from having lost many loved ones to smoking and being a former smoker himself. He particularly enjoys meeting people, sharing his experience with quitting smoking and providing hope to other consumers that it is possible to address tobacco use.
Yasmin is a former Consumer Tobacco Advocate and has always been interested in health. Her interest turned to consumer advocacy after attending MHANJ's Consumer Connections. As a supporter of the wellness and recovery approach to mental illness she believes addressing tobacco dependence is an essential part of the physical health component of recovery. She feels mental health consumers must advocate for themselves if they are to receive the services they deserve.