It’s OK to be a QUITTER – if you smoke!

The New Year is approaching, and as always it’s a time of self-reflection and evaluation of our habits and lifestyle. For those who smoke or use tobacco products – it’s also a time when they are encouraged to consider why they do what they do and to think about what life would be like if they kicked the habit. For many they just need a little education and encouragement to learn more about how smoking affects their health  and that there are people and resources out there to help make a meaningful change if they are committed.

At CHH, we are collaborators in community intervention programs and tobacco free initiatives that focus on tobacco use prevention and control especially in youth and young adults ages 5-24 residing in Northwest Connecticut. We understand the importance of combining resources with our community partners to actively engage and mobilize community strategies. These include promoting tobacco free living as a societal norm, preventing tobacco use initiation among youth, promoting cessation, developing tobacco prevention leadership capacities in middle and high school students, and supporting and expanding community-wide tobacco free choices.  There is much work to be done but there are irons in the fire and many dedicated people and agencies that want to make a difference. Change will come slowly but surely.

A big step for CHH was back in 2007, when the hospital took the important step forward to become a “Tobacco & Smoke Free” Hospital. This was accomplished in phases, but eventually all patients, employees, and visitors are now asked to discontinue the practice of smoking on the main campus and at all satellite locations. What at one point seemed to be the unthinkable is now the norm – in just 10 years.

Smoking, especially among our youth, continues to be a concern for our communities. According to the American Lung Association, more than 480,000 people die from tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke every year in the United States. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in this country. It’s also the number one cause of drug addiction in adults and children in the United States, the leading single cause of diseases in the United States, and a major cause of hospital admissions and readmissions.

Have you thought about what’s in a cigarette lately and brought this up with family and friends that smoke? Here are a few things to consider that are in cigarettes:

  •  Acetone – found in nail polish remover
  • Acetic Acid –  an ingredient in hair dye
  • Ammonia – a common household cleaner
  • Arsenic – used in rat poison
  • Benzene – found in rubber cement
  • Butane – used in lighter fluid
  • Cadmium – active component in battery acid
  • Carbon Monoxide – released in car exhaust fumes
  • Formaldehyde – embalming fluid
  • Hexamine – found in barbecue lighter fluid
  • Lead – used in batteries
  • Naphthalene – an ingredient in mothballs
  • Methanol – a main component in rocket fuel
  • Nicotine – used as insecticide
  • Tar – material for paving roads
  • Toluene – used to manufacture paint

Are you or someone you know ready to quit? We can help! The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital is offering free admission to its next “Freedom From Smoking” Cessation Program beginning on Wednesday, January 11th from 4:00 to 5:30 PM. The class is being held in the Conference Room at the Hungerford Center, 780 Litchfield Street, Torrington, just up the hill from the main hospital building.

CHH’s Smoking Cessation Program is a series of seven interactive classes that meet on Wednesdays over a six week period featuring discussion and skills practice. In this step-by step program, participants will receive the personal attention they need to help them quit smoking and transition to a healthier, smoke free lifestyle through education, relaxation techniques, and methods of preventing weight gain.

According to Sandy Markus, the CHH Smoking Program Facilitator, our classes feature sessions led by a trained, certified American Cancer Society facilitator who understand the motivations and rationalizations of smoking, and use a positive behavior change approach that teaches people how to become a permanent non-smoker.

As a special incentive, the $75 program fee will be waived for all participants. “Quit Day” is planned for January 30th. Call 860-496-6538 to register or receive more information. Space is limited.

2016 has been a year of great change. Make 2017 one too and take a step toward better health!

Tim LeBouthillier
Director of Community and Public Relations
Charlotte Hungerford Hospital

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