Healthy New Year: Stop Smoking

Smoking significantly increases risk of developing lung cancer, as well as diabetes, heart failure, other forms of cancer and several other serious medical problems. With the New Year quickly approaching, there couldn’t be a better time to set goals for yourself and quit the habit. For those who smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health. Unfortunately, quitting smoking can be quite the difficult process. Gaining support from family, friends, past smokers and/or actual support groups is the first step to successfully quitting the habit.

By letting friends and family know you are trying to quit, they can help to hold you accountable and help you stick to your goal.

Cone Health offers a program called QuitSmart to help you quit smoking permanently. The QuitSmart Program uses a “warm chicken” approach instead of encouraging people to quit “cold turkey”. Rather than quitting smoking all at once, the warm chicken approach slowly weans your body off of nicotine. QuitSmart instructors will first have you check the amount of nicotine in the cigarettes you normally smoke. Then, you’ll switch to a brand that has half the amount of nicotine as your normal brand, and continue to buy products with less and less nicotine. Over the course of two weeks, you will gradually reduce the amount of nicotine to zero.

The QuitSmart program takes about four weeks to complete, and you do not need to have already quit smoking before you attend. The first meeting is used to get to know the other adults in the class and to learn about the approach, then the two weeks of weaning your body off of nicotine begins. After the two weeks of weaning, you meet up with the class three more times during the next two weeks to share and support one another. The success of this program is based on the support individuals find in each other. You are not alone in your efforts to quit smoking and others going through the same thing are there to help, encourage and keep you accountable.

The next QuitSmart series start on January 8th at various Cone health locations. To find out more and/or register, visit conehealth.com/classes.

Spokesperson Background:

Athena “Nikki” Pickenpack-Cousar is a QuitSmart instructor with Cone Health. She received her Bachelor of Nursing from Winston-Salem State University and her Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Nurse Education from the University of Phoenix.