About Us

Calling it Quits Smoking Cessation Program

Everyone’s smoking habit is different, but the main thing is to re-learn how to live without cigarettes. This is possible through a five (5) week program that emphasizes motivation, behavior change, nicotine replacement therapy, education, and support. This program works because a non-judgemental approach allows participants to leave their guilt at home and come ready to implement a plan that works for them!

After 35 years of smoking and living in denial, Gary finally followed his doctor’s advice and quit smoking.

But, not before losing family members to smoking related illnesses and himself developing emphysema, something he now learns to live with. Gary is proud of his accomplishment of quitting and is passionate about helping others do the same.

Gary’s Story

Many people started smoking in their teens just like I did. Lighting up with friends was a way for me to try to be cool and to fit in. Especially when I felt like

I didn’t fit in any other way. Taking that first puff made me cough. After the second puff, the dizziness kicked in. Back then I didn’t know about the effects of nicotine, but I knew it felt good.

I quit smoking 9 years ago, shortly after being diagnosed with emphysema. I lost my mother to emphysema, and my brother died at an early age due to throat and neck cancer. Both were heavy smokers who eventually quit, but sadly cigarettes still claimed their lives.

But before I eventually quit, I was so far in denial that when I was first diagnosed with emphysema I actually believed my Doctor made it up just to scare me….like a physician would actually do that. Looking back on my first few feeble attempts to quit, I now realize that I wasn’t committed, motivated, or prepared and had no chance to succeed. I would’ve had a better chance of getting hit by lightning.. seven times….in one day…in seven different states.

After seeing the results of my failed breathing test my Doctor said to me, “Mr.Hagen, you have a decision to make. You can either continue smoking or you can breathe, but you’re not going to be able to do both for very much longer.”  Fear is a great motivator and it was at that point that I finally knew that I couldn’t afford to be in denial anymore….at least not if I wanted to live.

Joan and Gary

Joan Fergus and Gary Hagen are a great team and have been helping people find their way out of smoking for the last 5 years.

Joan Fergus

Close-up to crop (2)Joan has a MS in Education, spending over 20 years working with the physically and mentally disabled as well as teaching health and wellness in the community. Joan is married and returned to live in her hometown Racine, Wisconsin in 2009. As a woman wearing many hats, Joan relishes in the joy and challenge of raising two incredible children, has a coaching and hypnotherapy practice for people going through transitions, finds time to volunteer at her daughter’s school and in the community, and loves being in nature with her two “wild beasts” (dogs).


Gary Hagen

Gary has a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Gary knows what it takes to overcome the addiction to nicotine. He has the passion, commitment, and perseverance to help smokers “kick butt’!. Gary and his wife Joy have been married for 40 years and have raised 3 wonderful daughters, all of whom are teachers and counselors..He worked for Chrysler for 34 years before retiring in 2008. He is an avid fan of the Packers, Badgers, Brewers, and Bucks, and his hobbies include writing stories and playing Strat-O-Matic baseball.


What are participants saying about Calling It Quits?

“I like the positive attitudes!”
“Quality information and presentations. I QUIT!”
“I have support from others, you feel good and stay positive during the hard time of quitting.”
“Great handouts. Fun activities. Overall an excellent class with great instructors.”
“Very informative, no pressure, very worthwhile and objective”
“I’ve quit! You can’t get more positive than that!”