One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to quit smoking. The nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive, and while the body stops craving after a few days, the psychological addiction is the greatest hurdle to jump.
According to University of Kentucky College of Public Health professor Richard Clayton, who holds UK’s Good Samaritan Foundation endowed chair in health education and behavior, “Smoking is often called an ‘over-learned’ behavior. Smoking often begins during adolescence and continues on a regular basis throughout most of one’s life. Smoking is bundled with virtually everything a smoker does—drinking coffee, after a meal, during breaks in the work day, for celebrations, and thousands of other things that are part of the normal ebb and flow of life. Every time a smoker engages in these events, they are a reminder of a constant companion—a cigarette. This is one of the reasons that becoming a non-smoker is so difficult.”
Smokers who want to quit are twice as likely to succeed if they use a telephone help line.
One help line offered is the Cancer Information Service (CIS) line, a program of the National Cancer Institute. It can help you quit smoking with free one-on-one assistance from specially trained information specialists. CIS specialists can explain how quitting will improve your health, discuss different ways to quit, help you understand why you smoke, and develop an action plan for quitting. In addition to being free, personalized, and convenient, CIS cessation assistance is offered in English and Spanish.
The CIS of the Mid-South is based at the UK Markey Cancer Center. It serves Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. For more information about CIS, visit its Web site at www.kcr.uky.edu/cis.
Free smoking cessation program
However, for many people, face-to-face interaction with fellow smokers and a cessation specialist is a more appealing route to take. The UK Markey Cancer Center and its Cancer Control Program sponsor a free smoking cessation program. Classes begin in January to coincide with the new year.
The Cooper/Clayton Smoking Cessation program focuses not just on how to become a non-smoker, but also how to build exercise and better eating habits into one’s menu of behaviors, and how to deal with the depression and stress that often accompany efforts to change a behavior like smoking. It is a 12-week group-support program that uses research-based methods to help people stop smoking.
Glenna Hughes, outreach coordinator for the Markey Cancer Center’s Multi-disciplinary Lung Cancer Program, is a program facilitator. She says, “When people first enter the class, they are scared, nervous, anxious, but by the end of class they are confident that they can live as a non-smoker.”
Participants will learn how to pick a nicotine replacement product best suited for them, and will also learn important relapse prevention strategies, nutrition, exercise, and metabolism information.
FREE SMOKING CESSATION CLASSES
January 4, 2005—6-7 p.m.
Markey Cancer Center at UK Chandler Medical Center, Lexington. First floor waiting area, Whitney-Hendrickson Building. Call toll-free (866) 340-4488 to register.
Some people do things best on their own, and the Cooper/Clayton Smoking Cessation program has also created a self-help version of the program where you will not have to travel anywhere outside of your home to participate. The self-help program is still being tested for its effectiveness, but those who want to try it on their own can apply to be a participant. Participants will receive a free self-help smoking cessation kit. You will be responsible for purchasing nicotine replacement products. Call (866) 340-4488 and ask about the self-help stop smoking study.
For more information on smoking cessation classes, you may also go online to the Kentucky Cancer Program at www.kcr.uky.edu/kcp or contact the health department in your area.