Kristi’s Story: Be Aware Women’s Fair Inspires Attendee to Quit Smoking

An avid hiker, Kristi is now able to climb without getting winded.

An avid hiker, Kristi is now able to climb without getting winded.

Kristi Kramp, like many, was a smoker. Unlike many, she had no desire to quit.

“I loved smoking,” Kristi said. “Quitting was the furthest thing from my mind.”

That is, until she attended the 2011 Be Aware Women’s Fair.

With a group of friends and family members, Kristi walked in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk that precedes the fair.

“I was walking in a cancer walk while smoking cigarettes,” she said.

After the walk, Kristi and her group visited the Be Aware Women’s Fair exhibition area. Her aunt brought her to an American Cancer Society booth where they displayed a pig lung, tarred and damaged by the affects of cigarette smoking.

“I didn’t think much of it,” Kristi said. “I actually gave them a hard time, asking, ‘Oh, did this pig smoke cigarettes?’”

Then, she and her group participated in the booth’s free bone-density screening. Everyone received positive results.

Everyone, that is, except Kristi.

“My results were so low, the nurse was concerned, and told me I needed to follow up with my primary care provider,” Kristi said. “I had no idea my numbers would be so bad, but I should have—in the three years prior, I’d broken two bones.”

When she received information about the causes of low bone density, one risk factor stood out among the rest—smoking.

Kristi went outside to ponder this information—over a cigarette.

“I’m smoking, and I realize ‘this is stupid,’” she said. “I called my doctor the next week and told her I wanted to quit.”

Her doctor prescribed Chantix, a prescription medicine that helps many adults quit smoking. But, despite the medication and the support of her physician and family, Kristi was nervous.

“I was scared,” she said. “I thought, ‘if I fail at quitting, I’ll smoke forever.’”

After three weeks on the medicine, Kristi was weaned from the pill. She’s been smoke-free ever since. While she’s proud of herself, she still struggles.

“Every day is a challenge,” she said. “I am a smoker who chooses not to smoke, and it’s hard. If it wasn’t, everyone would quit. That’s why I want to do whatever I can to support others.”

Kristi credits the Be Aware Women’s Fair for changing her life—and, potentially, saving it.

“I didn’t go thinking, ‘I want to be inspired,’” she said. “But, when I left, I was. Everyone knows smoking is bad for you. But, to see exactly what I’d done to my body–that changed everything. I quit smoking because of that fair.”