It's never too late to kick the habit

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - The Mississippi County Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas will honor a Region 8 woman for kicking a habit many people half her age struggle to break.

Monday the Coalition will recognize 91-year-old Blytheville native Eria Crawford for being cigarette-free for the past eight years.

At the age of 83, Crawford stopped the pack-a-day smoking habit she had since she was a teenager. "I had heard what smoking will do to you. I heard it will kill you, and I wasn't ready to go."

Crawford said she learned about the dangers of smoking when she started attending the Coalition meetings.

"We're taking special time to present her with this award. We're expecting the mayor, we're expecting to have city council here," said Coalition founder and director Elroy Brown.

Brown believes Crawford is a living example of the motto, "Better late than never". "Not only did she quit, she start living healthy. She started riding her bike, you think about that, 91 years old riding her bike, and then riding an exercise bike to condition herself, and start eating right."

Crawford said she prayed and quit cold turkey – what she calls simple methods. She thinks the methods of today, such as the CDC's multimillion dollar, graphic ad campaign, would have kept others her age from starting in the first place. "I know I would've. Everything is getting more understanding than it was when I came along."

Crawford has a message for anyone who believes the habit is too hard to break.

"I know you can quit because I quit. All you got to do is make up your mind."

For help to call it quits, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (734-8669), or call the Mississippi County Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas at (870) 763-7167 for more information about meetings and cessation programs.

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