By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As part of the Great American Smokeout, the city of Philadelphia has launched an ‘Ex-Smoker’s Hall of Fame.’ They include 18 city workers featured on a city website who gave videotaped testimony.
City employees who have quit smoking are sharing their struggles and triumphs, like Streets Department worker Susan McTamney. She smoked for 36-years, up to four packs a day, and watched her two sisters continue to smoke as they were dying of lung cancer.
“I got up at 3 a.m. the day before I was supposed to quit, and I smoked eight cigarettes. I went to bed, got up the next morning, and didn’t touch them again.”
She has been smoke-free for 8-years.
City Law Department worker Tracey Beard stole cigarettes from her father’s corner store as a pre-teen, smoked 30-years, and finally quit.
“The main thing that motivated me about quitting smoking was that my mother and my husband, who were my smoking partners, quit smoking on me, a year before.”
As of 2010, Philadelphia had the highest smoking rate among the 10-largest U.S. cities, but City Health Director Dr. Donald Schwarz says the rates of smoking in Philadelphia have dropped by 15% among adults and 10% among youth over the last 4-years. That’s 40,000 fewer smokers.