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Health Department Helps Smokers Find "Freedom" to Kick Habit

(Springfield, MO) -- In this new year, you may be asking yourself what it would take to quit smoking.

(Springfield, MO) -- In this new year, you may be asking yourself what it would take to quit smoking.

The time for resolutions comes just months after the City of Springfield banned indoor smoking.

Steve Moncher finally made the decision to drop the butts and says he never wants to pick up the habit again.

"I started smoking when I was 15 and I'm 67."

Moncher's a therapist who spends his days dishing advice at St. Agnes Church in Springfield. Until just three months ago, he also called himself a lifetime smoker.

"Spent my money, made me smell and made me a good nicotine addict."

Moncher admits he once kicked the habit for eight years, but stress and societal pressures put the butts back in his hands.

"I can go and smoke in a restaurant," he adds. "I can go have a cup of coffee and smoke."

Moncher credits quitting smoking to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department's 'Freedom From Smoking' course, one he took just months after Springfield's ban on indoor smoking.

Representatives from the health department say there is no research that shows just how many smokers may have quit as a result of the smoking ban, but that it has significantly reduced one of the biggest environmental factors.

Mike Brothers with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department says it's never to late to quit.

"Cancers, strokes, heart disease -- it's not good for you," he says. "It's not good for your family."

Brothers recommends anyone trying to stop lighting up to first have a conversation with themselves, friends, family, co-workers and their doctor and to set a deadline to keep on target.

"Are ya happier? Of course, I'm happier," says Moncher. "I think of the money I'm saving and how much longer I'll live."

More time this 67-year-old therapist can spend giving advice.

"Start thinking of substitutes, start eating little baby carrots or something," both professional and personal.

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