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September 5, 2006 > Washington Hospitalís Six-Week Smoking Cessation Course Can Help You Quit for Good

Washington Hospitalís Six-Week Smoking Cessation Course Can Help You Quit for Good

Study Shows Smoking Cessation Programs Improve Survival

Quitting smoking is a big step toward a healthier lifestyle, but it’s not easy. That’s why Washington Hospital has designed a program that will help you through it every step of the way.

On Monday, September 11, Washington Hospital will present the “Get Ready to Quit Smoking Seminar” from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Conrad E. Anderson M.D. Auditorium, Room C in Washington West at 2500 Mowry Avenue. This free seminar will give individuals the opportunity to learn about Washington Hospital’s Six-Week Stop Smoking Program that will begin on October 2.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 22.5 percent of adults (46 million) and 26 percent of high school seniors smoke. Smoking contributes to more than 440,000 deaths per year.

 “Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in our society,” says Margaret Chaika, RCP, a respiratory therapist and pulmonary rehabilitation coordinator at Washington Hospital. “It’s important for smokers to find a way to quit. It’s a very hard thing to do because nicotine is so addictive.”

Nicotine is the psychoactive drug in tobacco products that makes smokers feel good. Over time, the body becomes physically and psychologically dependent on the drug. Studies have shown that smokers must overcome both to successfully quit smoking in the short and long term. Smoking increases the risk of lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Grouped under the term COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), these lung diseases cause chronic illness and disability as they progress, finally resulting in death.

 “Ninety percent of the people I see in the pulmonary rehabilitation program smoked at some point in their lives,” Chaika said.

How do quit-smoking programs and support groups work? They help smokers spot and cope with problems they have when trying to quit. The program teaches problem-solving and other coping skills. A quit-smoking program can help you quit for good by:

  • Helping you better understand why you smoke

  • Teaching you how to handle withdrawal and stress

  • Teaching you tips to help resist the urge to smoke

Smoking cessation programs are successful
Findings from a 2005 study by the National Institutes of Health show that intensive smoking cessation programs can significantly improve long-term survival among smokers. The Lung Health Study (LHS) followed nearly 5,900 middle-aged smokers who had mild to moderately abnormal lung function but were otherwise healthy when they enrolled in the study. Participants were assigned to either a 10-week intensive smoking cessation program or to usual care (no intervention). The intervention program included behavior modification and use of nicotine gum, with a continuing five-year maintenance program to minimize relapse.

After five years, approximately 22 percent of the participants in the smoking cessation program were sustained quitters, with nearly 90 percent of them continuing their success after 11 years. About 5 percent of those who did not receive the intervention were sustained quitters after five years. After an average of 14.5 years, the death rate among those in the smoking cessation program was about 15 percent lower compared to those who received usual care.

“This type of study shows the impact smoking cessation programs can have on public health, even if small numbers of participants successfully quit,” says Chaika.

Washington Hospital’s Six-Week Stop-Smoking program uses proven behavior-modification techniques that help you understand when and why you smoke so you can modify your behavior and find successful strategies for quitting. Becoming a nonsmoker is a major life change. The program will provide tools for conquering your anxieties and fears, coping with external factors, and setting long-term goals as well as resources to help you quit. Nicotine-replacement therapies will also be discussed, which can help reduce the negative effects of nicotine withdrawal.

The Six-Week Stop Smoking Program takes place on Mondays from 6 to 8 p.m. starting on October 2. The quit-smoking program will be held at the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, Rooms A and B, in Washington West at 2500 Mowry Avenue.

People smoke for different reasons, so it’s important to fully understand why you smoke, what role it plays in your life, so you can find ways to meet those needs without smoking. The quit-smoking program will help you do that in a supportive environment where you can share information with others and learn how they manage to cope.

For more information about the September 11 seminar or the quit-smoking program that begins October 2, call (800) 963-7070 or visit, click on “For Our Community,” and select “Health Classes and Support Groups” from the drop-down menu.

Is smoking “just a habit” or are you addicted? Take the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence and find out your level of dependence on nicotine.

1. How soon after you wake up do you smoke your first cigarette?

After 60 minutes           (0)        31-60 minutes              (1)

6 -30 minutes               (2)        Within 5 minutes           (3)

2. Do you find it difficult to refrain from smoking in places where it is forbidden?
No       (0)        Yes      (1)

3. Which cigarette would you hate most to give up?

The first in the morning (1)        Any other         (0)

4. How many cigarettes per day to you smoke?

10 or less         (0)        11-20               (1)

21-30               (2)        31 or more       (3)

5. Do you smoke more frequently during the first hours after awakening than during the rest of the day?
No       (0)        Yes (1)

6. Do you smoke even if you are so ill that you are in bed most of the day?

No       (0)        Yes (1)

Your score was:          Your level of dependence on nicotine is:

0-2 Very low dependence        3-4 Low dependence
5 Medium dependence            6-7 High dependence             
8-10 Very high dependence

Scores under 5: Your level of nicotine dependence is still low. You should act now before your level of dependence increases.

Score of 5: Your level of nicotine dependence is moderate. If you don’t quit soon, your level of dependence on nicotine will increase until you may be seriously addicted. Act now to end your dependence on nicotine.

Score over 7: Your level of dependence is high. You aren’t in control of your smoking – it is in control of you! When you make the decision to quit, you may want to talk with your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy or other medications to help you break your addiction.

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