Dancer Mark Ballas wants to help you quit smoking

"Dancing with the Stars" pro Mark Ballas and his mother, Shirley, talk to Dr. Manny about a new campaign to help people kick the deadly habit of smoking


You would be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn’t know about the dangers of smoking. The deadly habit can lead to a slew of health complications including heart disease and cancer. “Dancing with the Stars” pro Mark Ballas and his mother, Shirley,  made a pact to quit smoking together and are now teaming up with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare to share their story.

Mark grew up in his mother’s homeland of England, where he told that smoking  was “part of the culture, part of the lifestyle.” He started to smoke as a teen much like his mother, who said that she had been smoking for 40 years until Mark asked her to quit with him after it started to affect his dancing.

“I was really inspired by Mark and thought ‘well if he can do it, then I am really going to have a go,’” Shirley told

The mother and son team are spreading the message with the hashtag #WhatsYourWhy in an effort to get those who have quit and those who are trying to quit to give the reasons behind their decision.

Shirley said her “why” is, “I want to be around for a lot longer. I am going to turn 55 this year and I want to see Mark get married and my grandchildren.”

Mark  said that the campaign gives smokers a chance to “read other people’s stories, find inspiration from other people who are wanting to quit.”

Given all the information about smoking, making the decision to quit is a lot easier than the actual process . Apart from the nicotine addiction, Mark and Shirley say that saying goodbye to the physical habit was just as difficult.

“Taking the wrapper off and hitting the top to the physical aspects of it,” Mark said, were all part of the smoking ritual that was difficult to leave behind. Mark said that to stop, you need to be in the right frame of mind.

“You have to mentally prepare yourself for it and not be afraid and not be weak to that,” he said.

To deal with the physical addiction to nicotine Mark opted for a Nicoderm patch, while his mother chewed gum.

These two tools along with a partner helped the duo quit the habit and enjoy a better quality of life.

“I do feel better. I can taste food better, my skin is better. But you still have the cravings, I’m not going to lie, there’s still cravings there. So it’s a little mind over matter and a good buddy partner,” Shirley said.