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Dancing helps woman step away from smoking

Feb 21, 2017
SIMCOE MUSKOKA — For Fran Murdy the thought of having to give up dancing spurred her to step up her efforts to quit smoking for good.

SIMCOE MUSKOKA — For Fran Murdy the thought of having to give up dancing spurred her to step up her efforts to quit smoking for good.

Having smoked for 41 years, the Huntsville woman had tried a few times to quit but always ended up starting again. It was a diagnosis of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), a lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe, that gave her the motivation she needed to try to stop for good.

“A quit counsellor showed me a picture of a lady with COPD who had to be on oxygen 24/7. That scared me to no end,” says Murdy. “I wasn’t going to be one of these people.”

She set a quit date and got free supports including a nicotine inhaler to help her. She was able to cut back from almost two packs a day to eight to 10 cigarettes daily – but she still wasn’t able to stop completely.

Over time she found she couldn’t catch her breath when dancing. Even walking to her neighbour’s house became almost too much. When her breathing got so bad it was difficult for her to get out of the house and do things, she knew she had no option but to quit completely. She made a visit to her pharmacist for quit smoking medication and she stopped for good on Friday, May 18.

That was five years ago. And while she still has trouble breathing, she says it is much easier than it was when she was smoking.

“I go dancing with my friends and can dance more than one dance,” Murdy says. She can also walk the track at the Summit Recreation Centre, something she didn’t know if she would ever be able to do again.

She admits it hasn’t been easy, and tells others trying to quit to “take it slowly, one day at a time, one month at a time. I tell other people, if I could do it, you can do it.”

Smoke-free and no longer willing to trade off her health for tobacco, Murdy is looking forward to dancing up a storm at her grandkids’ wedding.

If you would like help to quit smoking call Health Connection, Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520. Visit the Tobacco - Thinking about Quitting pages on the website at  for more stories from local residents who have quit.

Do you want to inspire someone else to stop the #tobaccotradeoff?

Visit our Facebook page Tobacco-Free Chatter and follow us on twitter @TFChatter.



Huntsville resident Fran Murdy wanted to be healthy enough to dance at her grandkids wedding despite a diagnosis of COPD from 41 years of smoking. She’s five years smoke free and is out dancing again.

1 comment

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  1. Jack | Feb 16, 2019
    <p>Smoking for smokers always steps in through backdoor of your mind .i.e. Whenever you feel depressed, thinking deep over something or completely free. Smoking thought will kick in and you will feel like you should smoke one.</p><p>But if you keep yourself engaged with music and dance, it will fill your mind and soul with positive energy. Try listening to the music, watching dance videos on <a href="">laptop</a>, practicing dance and feel the strings, beats of music. And believe me, you will forget about smoking.</p>

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