your body. Initially you get kind of a kick;
it increases the heart rate. But to do
physical work was very difficult.”
To cope with withdrawal fidgets, she
chewed Hubba Bubba gum. “You can
blow really good bubbles with it, and it
would last about as long as a cigarette,”
Gough says. “Sometimes, I still chew
Tobacco free for nine years, Gough
says: “Being around it makes my lungs
hurt now.” What’s more, she credits
quitting tobacco with putting her on
the podium numerous times—including
Dec. 17, 2011, when she won the World
Cup in Winterberg, Germany. “It’s really
hard to let go of something you’re com-
fortable with and that you feel you
need, but it is possible,” Gough says.
“And life is so much better without it.”
Now 36, Gough’s journey illustrates
many truths about the slippery slope to
tobacco addiction—and the uphill battle
friends I had at that time were smokers.”
The social side of smoking had attractedGough since age 14, when she wouldsneak cigarettes from a girlfriend’s mom,determined to be “cool.” In college,with two half-pack-a-day roommates,she smoked to be sociable, or so shethought. Then one day it dawned onher that she was hooked.
“I woke up in the morning and allI craved was a cigarette,” she says.
“That scared me.” Ever since elementaryschool, when a smutty lung was usedto show what smoking does to a body,she had known the consequences.
Like most smokers she tried to quit,again and again.
The clincher came a year into Gough’sskeleton career, when she startedseriously pursuing faster times. “I neverwas one of those absolutely stellarathletes so I had to work really hard,and smoking definitely inhibited that,”she says. “It’s shocking what it does to
The will to quit and to winAmy Gough quit smoking as part ofa total life shift, going from inactiveand unhappy to fit and focused.
It all started at Calgary’s bobsleigh,luge and skeleton track. One run downthe frozen track—face down, head firstand inches from the ice—propelled herfrom terrified to smitten. She wantedmore of that rush.
A year later, and after failing to makeskeleton’s Canadian development team,Gough took stock of her lifestyle: she wasworking 12-hour days as a hotel managerand smoking heavily and drinking nightlyto unwind. She decided to get healthy.
She ditched her high-stress job, stoppeddrinking cold turkey, lost 35 pounds( 16 kilograms) and made the team inthe next year. But giving up cigarettestook longer.
“It was hard to quit because it was sucha social thing to do,” Gough says, “and the
FOR MANY PEOPLE, GIVING UP TOBACCO IS EASIER SAID THAN DONE.
BUT LASTING SUCCESS IS POSSIBLE. THREE FORMER SMOKERS TALK ABOUT HOW
THEY FOUND THE STRENGTH AND DETERMINATION TO (FINALLY) BREAK FREE