Ray Beukema knows that smoking is a deadly habit that’s extremely hard to break.
But after smoking for 65 years, he’s now been smoke-free for a month with the help of the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre (GRRCC).
Do you remember your first cigarette?
I don’t really remember when I had my first cigarette, but I do remember that I was probably about 12 years old.
My dad would give me one for doing chores. Back then, everybody smoked. It was viewed back in those days that you were not a “real man” unless you smoked – sort of like a Marlboro man.
How long were you considered a “smoker” for?
I smoked for 65 years.
How did you quit?
With the help of the GRRCC – after all, it is a matter of life and death.
How long have you been smoke-free for?
I’ve been smoke-free now for about a month.
Have you attempted to quit in the past? How many times?
Yes, but they weren’t very successful attempts. My best was usually about a week.
What’s the biggest thing you want to tell someone who has never smoked?
To never start because you will always regret it later on when you want to quit.
What’s the biggest thing you want to tell someone who has smoked?
Take any means that are available; there are resources out there to help you quit.
What changes or improvements have you seen as a non-smoker?
The biggest improvement I would say would be my breathing; it’s gotten easier now that I don’t smoke.