Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the appropriate people who are considered honorees in the hall of fame.
PITTSFIELD -- Tammy Proctor is a quitter -- and if her son were still around, he would be proud of her.
Proctor, 49, is among 10 members of the Berkshire Community College community who were honored on Wednesday for their efforts to beat their addiction to cigarettes.
"I promised my son if he would do stem cell treatment, I'd quit [smoking]," Proctor said.
Five years later, she hasn't broken that promise.
"There was nothing easy about it," Proctor said. "I tried to strategize. Eventually it was sheer force of will."
Proctor, a BCC student, and others are openly sharing their stories about quitting smoking to inspire others to do the same. The group was recognized on Wednesday by college President Ellen Kennedy as the college created an Ex-Smoker's Hall of Fame.
PHOTO GALLERY | BCC honors ex-smokers with hall of fame
In the fall, BCC became a smoke-free campus. This new policy replaces a previous one that allowed people to smoke in certain areas on the perimeter of the campus.
When she became president in July 2012 , Kennedy said a student provided a tour of the campus to show frequent smoking violations. That tour prompted the college's newly formed smoking committee to re-examine the policy and ultimately ban smoking entirely.
The Ex-Smoker's Hall of Fame project was done in coordination with the state Department of Health and Berkshire Area Health Education Center. The honorees -- students, alumni and staff -- wrote about why they quit and their stories were posted in the Susan B. Anthony Lounge.
Each person had a different story to share. A college professor said he read a book about how to stop smoking while enjoying a cigarette. He then followed through with the advice and set a stop date. Another student said he started because it was a good opportunity to socialize, but then he quit after he had a change of heart.
"We've come a long way in society," Kennedy said during the short ceremony. "Today we will celebrate quitters. How often do we get to celebrate quitters? We are very proud of our quitters."
For many, it wasn't an easy decision, but they did it for their health: Smoking is attributed to increased risk of lung cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Proctor has tried quitting twice before. She said she had been smoking for nearly 30 years before she made the promise to her son, Chad. When she has the urge to smoke, she's reminded of how this habit prevented her from sharing precious time with her son, who was hospitalized with testicular cancer on the 18th floor of Massachusetts General.
"It was a 20-minute trip to go all the way back in and then I had to get sterile," the Dalton resident said. "All that time I gave up to be with him. I want that time back."
Zack Kotleski, 24, an alumnus of Berkshire Community College and graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, recalled smoking cigars for five years up until the start of the year. It started as an opportunity to socialize with friends. But before long he couldn't pass a store without purchasing cigarettes.
While attending a kinesiology class, he learned about the immediate health benefits. He stopped for a week. He noticed he no longer had a nagging cough. He also noticed he wasn't spitting out black spit in the morning.
"This really solidified the fact that I've quit," Kotleski said. "I feel everyone has done so much for everyone. This definitely helps."
Kotleski said he hopes the school's no-smoking policy will encourage others not to smoke.
"If you can't smoke on the whole campus, it's good pressure," Kotleski said. "A lot people want to quit but they don't know how."
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