It's Great American Smokeout Day, that annual occasion when puffers are urged to become ex-puffers.
Levey the Ex-Puffer fervently hopes that Quitting Fever will descend today on all who still puff. To nudge still-puffers in that direction, I hereby publish the latest members of the Super Stoppers Club -- Washingtonians who have quit recently, and who deserve a public cheer.
Suzanne Finn of Hyattsville says this about Louise Breakiron: "This lady, 84, bowls with me and has been clean for two years." Thank you, Louise, for proving that it's never too late.
Ann Williams of Hyattsville wonders if snuff-quitters qualify. Why not? Especially when the quitter is 75, as is Ann's grandmother, Daisy Smith of Garner, N.C. Daisy had dipped "from a very young age," Ann says. But she's been dipless since July 1985. Way to go!
Luella De Salvo of Burke praises her daughter-in-law, Elaine De Salvo, who has been clean for almost two years. Joan M. Kiker of Morningside nominates her husband, Chuck, who got off cigarettes because of an abcessed tooth and stayed off. And Dorothy I. Riefner of Takoma Park has two family nominees: Her daughter, Dorothy Riefner Jones, and the sister of her son-in-law, Ruthie Jones. Well done, ladies.
Rose Fletcher of Glenarden hails her boss, Jim Williams, who quit by making a deal. One year and two days ago, Jim told Rose that if she quit chocolate, he'd quit cigarettes. Rose admits she's back to eating the sweet stuff. But Jim isn't back to smokes -- and he isn't going back.
David L. Caskey of Northwest says his wife Mimi's pregnancy is what did it for him. He quit on Nov. 23, 1986. Daughter Aurora was born on Jan. 6, 1987. "I love you both," says David to his ladies. Got a hunch they feel the same about Smokeless You, Dad.
Jennifer L. Ruane of Reston still smokes, but she has a powerful reason to stop: Her husband, Frank, who cold-turkeyed on March 17, 1986.
An anonymous coworker loves the fact that Vanessa Hubbard kicked the habit. Laurie D. Waters of Arlington salutes roommate Jennifer Kelly Martin, who went home for Christmas and came back without smokeables. Andrew R. Tavss notes his wife Mona's first anniversary of "abstinence from the wretched weed." And this pair of coworkers did it together: E. Johnetta Brown and Nancy Van Balen.
Shapur Abdolbashar of Falls Church doffs his cap to Michelle Jackson, his girlfriend. "Her friends smoke, but she dared to be different," says Shapur. Keep it up, Michelle.
Carol and Jim Gwin of Hagerstown have Been Without since January 1985, reports Catherine Horn Collacott, their neighbor. The gang at Homeowner Consultants Inc. in Columbia is delighted that Cara Schneider has become a Super Stopper. Ruth A. Lucas of Front Royal, Va., says she smoked for 27 1/2 years -- but not for the last two. And Carolyn Nothwanger heaps public praise on three pretty important people: Her husband, Paul Teague; Paul's mother, Barbara Teague, and Paul's grandmother, Mildred Wagenius. All are recent quitters.
Jean Beery of Stevensville, Md., isn't waiting for anyone to nominate her. She hereby nominates herself. But Sunny McGuinn of Ellicott City does the honors for her husband, Jack. He quit in 1986, to the vast delight of the McGuinn children -- James, Sean and Colin.
Philip Kaufman of Germantown nominates a friend, Mary Palmer of Baltimore, who quit once, backslid, quit again, and hasn't backslid at all.
Janet Watts of Srpingfield strikes up the band for her husband, Buck, who quit on April 14, 1986, after smoking for 35 years. The teen-agers, Brad and Sheri, are "so proud of him," Mom reports.
Karen Dunlap of Waldorf thinks it's about time we cheered for Beverly Buhler of St. Leonard, Md., and how can we not? Beverly has "been smoking since she was old enough to walk to the store to buy them," Karen says. But not since Quit Day (Nov. 4, 1985).
Diane Carroll graduated from Catholic University more than four years ago. But she well remembers her roommate, Suzan Wall, and the gales of smoke Suzan used to emit. At last, Diane can forget the gales. Suzan quit two years ago.
Finally for this batch, a hearty hooray to four former smokers at the Pike 7 Plaza branch of First Virginia Bank. Leslie Frankfort kicked a habit that had been with him for 60 (!) years. Cliff Corn had smoked only half that long (did I say only?) and now he's a "former," too. Ditto Ken Gianguilio and Nguyet Nguyen. Good work!
Would you like to see your name right here among the comics, Ye Who Still Smoke? All you need to do is to get in the spirit of this Smokeout Day and give up cigs forever.
Know a recent quitter? Please mail his or her name to Super Stoppers Club, c/o Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., 20071.