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A bet to quit smoking is a win-win situation

This is, as politicians are wont to say, a win-win proposition.

Don Gaglione is trying to stop smoking. Again.

Hypnotism. Patches. Lasers. Gum. Inhalers. Even bribery.

Nothing has worked for long. He made it 13 days the last time.

Gaglione said he's been a smoker for more than 50 of his 67 years. Up to two packs a day.

His latest effort started after a conversation with a cousin who gave up cigarettes following hip surgery.

"If you quit -- I quit," he told his cousin.

Gaglione told the regulars at Demetris restaurant, where he eats breakfast regularly, about his quitting.

"Everybody started laughing. I quit 6 million times," he recalled during an interview at the Sheridan Drive restaurant in the Town of Tonawanda.

"Put your money where your mouth is," somebody told him.

And Gaglione pledged he will.

The bet is that if Gaglione has a cigarette between Feb. 14 and May 13, he will double what's been bet by restaurant patrons. Within his means, that is.

There's a hand-lettered sign and donation jar near the cash register at Demetris. A similar effort is under way at the Delaware Avenue restaurant where Gaglione eats dinner several nights a week.

Either way, all of the money will be used to directly help children in a local cancer ward, he said, whether it pays for a party or gifts.

More importantly, the divorced father of three sons is looking forward to the arrival of his first granddaughter in June.

"I wouldn't have done it just to quit. I've got a good reason now," the Buffalo native said.

He moved away a week after graduating high school and, after a 40-year absence, lives in Kenmore several months a year.

For this attempt, Gaglione said he's taking a prescription drug twice a day. He's changing his behavior, too.

Take mornings, for instance.

"Get up and get the hell out of the house," he said. No lingering for that first cup of coffee -- and cigarette.

Ask him directly if he's sneaked a cigarette since Feb. 14 and he pleads the Fifth.

"You're going to have to trust me," he said, adding: "And I have been known to cheat."

Gaglione knows people are watching him. But not just to catch him.

"I have been getting a hell of a lot of support," he said.

He said this is his last attempt to kick the habit.

"If I don't quit now, that's it. If I do 90 days I think I will have it made," Gaglione said.

"At least the kids are going to get something out of it," he said.


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