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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A New Year's Resolution to Quit Smoking

ALBANY, N.Y. – As 2011 comes to a close and 2012 begins, many people are setting a resolution this New Year to quit smoking. For those “hard core smokers”, quitting is a significant challenge and may be overwhelming. A hard core smoker is commonly defined as someone who smokes more than 15 cigarettes a day, smokes their first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking up and has not abstained from smoking for more than 24 hours in the past year.

Seton Health’s The Butt Stops Here Program has developed a list of 10 tips to help smokers quit 2012.

  1. Contact your health care provider to discuss appropriate cessation medications
  2. Engage two people you trust to provide support
  3. Arrange for some form of counseling: NYS Smokers’ Quitline, community cessation program, telephonic counseling, interactive website, health care provider, or spiritual counselor
  4. Identify the top five reasons why you want to quit, write a detailed paragraph about each one, and read it three times a day.
  5. Think about setting a quit date within two weeks and practice not smoking: cut down, smoke your first cigarette later every day, restrict areas where you can smoke, keep cigarettes out of reach
  6. Drink a lot of water, exercise, reward yourself and practice deep breathing
  7. If you are not experiencing relief from withdrawal symptoms from the cessation medication you are using contact your doctor or pharmacist.
  8. When cravings hit remind yourself “This too shall pass.”
  9. Ask yourself: How do I need to think so that I do not pick up a cigarette? Write down what comes to mind and repeat those thoughts to yourself over and over again
  10. Don’t quit smoking for the rest of your life; just quit for today

“50% of the 2,721,100 smokers in NYS will try to quit this year, but only 2-3% will succeed in doing so”, said Peggy Keigley, Director of the Center for Smoking Cessation at Seton Health. “Many of these people are hard core smokers who have tried to quit many times and become disillusioned, convinced that they cannot quit.”

According to the Public Health Service Guideline “Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence”, people are three times more likely to quit smoking when using resources such as consulting with a health care provider and counseling.

The Butt Stops Here Program, funded by the NYS Department of Health, was first developed in 2001 by Seton Health. Since its inception, the program has treated over 7,000 smokers with a success rate of 30%. “The program works because it educates smokers about the addiction, which is a physical and psychological dependency. You learn strategies about how best to handle those things. The most important part is the group support”, says Maureen Kelly, a Butt Stops Here participant who has been smoke free for more than a year.

The Butt Stops Here Program has been extended from 7 weeks to 14 weeks. The extended program provides greater flexibility. Participants are encouraged to attend as many sessions as possible without being held to a strict schedule. The program is $40 and includes 4 weeks of nicotine patches or gum, workbook, quitter’s kit and incorporates the 10 tips to quit smoking.

To sign up for the program, or for more information about “The Butt Stops Here” program, please call Debbie Keefe, program coordinator, at (518) 459-2550.

The Center for Smoking Cessation at Seton Healthcovers an eight-county region including Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Greene, Columbia, Schoharie, Otsego and Delaware Counties. There are 19 cessation centers throughout New York State funded by the NYS Department of Health Tobacco Control Program. The goal of the cessation centers is to train and educate healthcare institutions to provide counseling and other resources to help tobacco users quit.

Click here to learn more about The Butt Stops Here.

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