VJ Sleight, MA, TTS
As a former smoker, VJ Sleight knows how easy it is to stop smoking and how difficult it is to stay quit, even after receiving a cancer diagnosis. When she was 32, she was told she had breast cancer. While the doctors didn’t suggest an association between her cancer and smoking, she would remain at high risk for a reoccurrence for the rest of her life as a smoker. This did motivate her to quit. If the cancer ever came back, she didn’t want to guess that maybe, “It was something I did to myself”. She became a Queen of Quitting, by stopping smoking for at least three months, nine separate times.
Sleight gave her first Stop Smoking Workshop in 1990, one month after she put out her last cigarette. Since then, helping others become smoke-free has become a passion and personal mission. She has a Master’s degree in Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, and has been trained at the Mayo Clinic as a Tobacco Treatment Specialist. She is a passionate speaker; traveling nationally to educate health care providers on how to effectively motivate patients to quit and smokers on how to develop a successful Plan. She offers both individual and group counseling in Southern California. As a cancer advocate, she is active locally as a Legislative Ambassador for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. She is the Chairperson of the “Coalition for Tobacco-Free Communities Serving Riverside County” and a member of “Tobacco Use Reduction Now” in San Bernardino County.
In 2010, VJ didn’t have to wonder if becoming smoke-free was the right decision when she received a second cancer diagnosis, instead she felt relief at having quit when she did. If she had continued smoking, the cancer may have come back sooner, been more aggressive and she might not be here today. The recurrence has only escalated her desire to help smokers who want to quit, get the resources they need.