GOOD REASONS TO QUIT SMOKING
Whether you’re a heavy smoker or a
light one like Travis Dale, CEC, CCA,
executive chef/assistant general manager
at The Point Lake and Golf Club in
Mooresville, N.C., quitting will improve
your health. “I usually only smoked when I
was driving. When my wife got pregnant,
the smell made her nauseous,” he
explains. “So I quit.” Being smoke-free is
healthier for both of them, he believes.
that they cost even more, I can’t imagine
wasting all that money,” he says.
smoked, I could have been cooking with
too much salt,” she says.
Another good reason to quit smoking is
to improve your sense of taste and smell.
While the science is ambiguous, many
chefs absolutely agree that their sense of
taste and, to a lesser degree, smell, have
improved since they gave up cigarettes.
Cesare Caldarelli of Deerfield, Ill.,
agrees. “Salt tastes a hundred percent
different since I quit smoking six months
ago. I was probably over-salting my food
when I smoked,” he says. The former
military and department store chef used
Chantix for about five weeks.
Health is the best reason to quit
smoking; cost is another. At $5 or more
per pack, smoking is an expensive habit.
Says Jesse Fowler, a culinary student at
The Art Institute of Michigan, Novi, Mich:
“In the 10 months since I’ve quit, I’ve
Mark Brown, CEC, CCA, executive chef
at The Sanctuary Golf Club, Sanibel
Island, Fla., quit his job six years ago
at the Fort Wayne Country Club, Fort
Wayne, Ind., to open a bakery/cafe
business. To save money to put into the
business, he quit smoking. “Back then,
cigarettes were about $3 a pack. Now
“You learn to taste with a smoker’s palate.
Food tastes better when you quit. Tastes
are different. It took me up to six months
to trust my palate,” Brown says.
“Coca-Cola and bacon tasted and
smelled out of this world after I quit,” says
Frank Page, CSC, executive chef at Miami
University, Oxford, Ohio.
The taste of salt was much more acute
for Kathy Doyle, executive chef at Fort
Indiantown Gap Community Club, a
military facility in Reading, Pa. After
smoking for 25 years, she used the
patch to quit and immediately noticed the
difference in the taste of salt. “When I
Pat Walston, corporate chef of House-
Autry Mills, Inc., Four Oaks, N.C., turned
to her doctor for help to quit smoking.
He suggested she set a quit date three
months ahead, then, every day for those
months, tell six people she was quitting. “I
got so tired of telling people I quit the day
before my quit date,” she says.
Walston also believes smoking impairs
the sense of smell and taste. She looks
to coworkers to test the products and
recipes she develops in her lab. “I always
go to the nonsmokers like me,” she says.
“Their sense of taste and smell is so
Big-time health issues forced Frank Page,
CSC, to kick the habit. Every time he got sick,
he ended up with pneumonia. Sucking in
air hurt so badly, it almost made him cry. An
executive chef at Miami University, Oxford,
Ohio, he took advantage of the educational
materials and support group the university
provides in conjunction with the American
Cancer Society. He used no drugs or other
aids, and he and his wife, who quit with him,
have been smoke-free for two years.
the District of Columbia. (For more information
on the program and an interactive readiness-to-quit quiz, go to www.quitnow.net. For a
comprehensive guide to quitting smoking, go
to the society’s website at www.cancer.org.)
Counselors help determine a person’s best
approach to quitting. “The two most critical
components in quitting smoking are the
biological and psychological addictions,”
“You need to recognize the situations and
behaviors that make you want to smoke,
and counter them,” Wiatrek says. Taking
a walk after dinner instead of having a
cigarette is an example. “Exercise is a good
approach. You don’t need to run a marathon.
Something as simple as walking can help.”
Exercise also helps reduce the weight gain
often associated with giving up cigarettes.
Dawn Wiatrek, Ph.D., a social psychologist
specializing in addiction and cessation, is
director of the Atlanta-based American
Cancer Society’s Quit for Life, a telephone-
based program that provides assessment,
counseling and other help in all 50 states and
The biological elements often are easier
to overcome. Nicotine replacement
therapy (gum, the patch, nasal spray and
others) or prescription drugs that block
the absorption of nicotine can help with
that. When it comes to the psychological
aspect, behavior modification is in order.
When it comes to quitting smoking,
Wiatrek’s message is loud and clear. “The
cravings you feel are going to pass. Millions
of people have quit. It can be done.”
Suzanne Hall has been writing about chefs,
restaurants, food and wine from her home in
Soddy Daisy, Tenn., for more than 25 years.