By: Karen Yontz Center Staff
If you’re a smoker, take a moment and think about the first time you smoked. Do you remember why you decided to pick up that cigarette (or pipe or cigar) in the first place? How did it make you feel? What was it that made you decide to keep smoking? What about now: Why do you choose to smoke? Now how about this: was there ever a time you decided to quit? Why did you make that decision? Why do you think you were unable to quit for good that time (or any other time you tried)? Do you think you would ever want to try quitting again?
Most people who smoke are well-versed in the health reasons why they should quit. They know that cigarettes create more than 7000 chemicals when they are burned and when these chemicals are inhaled, they cause health problems, including cardiovascular disease. They know that if they quit, the health benefits will range from the almost immediate (within 20 minutes, heart rate and blood pressure drop) to the short term (after 2-12 weeks, circulation improves and lung function increases, coughing and shortness of breath decrease) to the long term (after 1 year smoke-free, coronary heart disease risk is half that of a smoker). They may also know that there are benefits even for those who have developed smoking-related health problems (people who quit smoking after having a heart attack reduce their chances of another heart attack by 50%). The issue may be simply that they don’t want to quit or they feel that they can’t do it successfully.
There are many ways to quit smoking. Some people can do it themselves, cold turkey. Some people use a nicotine replacement system. Some seek the help of a therapist or a hypnotist. The Karen Yontz Center offers a different choice for people: the American Lung Association’s Freedom from Smoking class. This is an 8-session class where a small group of smokers (usually about 10) meet with our trained facilitator, herself a former smoker. The Freedom from Smoking class is based on proven addiction and behavior change models. In the group, smokers focus on creating their own specific step-by-step plan for quitting and learning how to take control over their behavior. A variety of evidence-based techniques for quitting are discussed throughout the class so that smokers can create a plan that will be the most successful for them personally. Being in a group also allows smokers the opportunity to have additional support and learn to address and overcome the physical, mental, and social aspects of their addiction.
One of the best aspects of the Freedom from Smoking class is that those who take it are 6 times more likely to be smoke-free one year later than those who try to quit on their own. If you feel that you are ready to finally quit, contact The Karen Yontz Center today at (414) 649-5767 to find out when our next Freedom from Smoking class is taking place.