“It’s possible” – Healthpark offers an accessible approach to quitting smoking | Characteristics
Quitting smoking may not be easy, but “it’s possible” with help from Owensboro Health Park’s smoking cessation programs, says Trey Davidson, who quit smoking last year with the help of program instructors.
Healthpark offers two smoking cessation programs – Freedom From Smoking, a group-focused program that offers a structured goal and timeline for smoking cessation with peer support, and a more individual approach with the Tobacco Treatment Program, in which participants receive direct coaching from the instructors.
According to instructor and health and wellness specialist Emily Galloway, both programs help participants set goals.
“We treat tobacco addiction and help the person set achievable goals, so we’re not just going to say, ‘just put your cigarettes down, put everything down, and stop cold turkey,'” she said. We use a reduction approach.”
Each program, she said, is also motivational, examining each participant’s reasons for wanting to quit and helping them remember that motivation during the program.
The Freedom From Smoking program is a seven-week course, but participants strive to quit smoking around week four, Galloway said.
As part of the program, each participant is matched with a “buddy” in the group who helps to empower and motivate them.
The smoking treatment program, however, is one-on-one with the instructor, with more flexible goals that are tailored to each individual and what they want to get out of the program, whether it’s cutting down or quitting. completely, according to Galloway. .
“Some people don’t really like bands, so they just prefer to meet me, and I’m kind of their buddy in that sense,” she said.
The programs teach participants techniques to help them fight the craving. One, she said, might just change hands. Smoking with the opposite hand to the one usually used disrupts the whole routine and makes it uncomfortable.
Another, she says, is to ration cigarettes or put off the urge for at least five minutes. Five minutes may seem like a long time, but after that the urge will usually pass and give the mind time to refocus on other things.
The benefits of either program, she said, could save lives.
Smoking, according to the American Cancer Society, is the greatest risk factor for developing lung cancer, accounting for approximately 80% of disease-related deaths.
Additionally, according to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is responsible for approximately 800,000 deaths each year in the United States, nearly 20% of which are related to smoking.
According to the American Cancer Society, just 20 minutes after quitting smoking, positive changes are already happening in the body, including a decrease in blood pressure.
After a year of being smoke-free, Galloway said the risk of developing heart disease was cut in half. After five years, she said the risk of having a smoking-related stroke drops to that of a non-smoker.
Davidson said his physical exam after he quit showed a huge difference from before he quit.
Davidson is a captain with the Owensboro Fire Department. He attended the smoking treatment program between July and October and quit smoking completely last year after smoking for around 22 years.
He said his doctor had been trying to get him to quit smoking for years and eventually referred him to Healthpark smoking cessation programs.
“He wouldn’t take no for an answer,” Davidson said.
One of his strongest motivations for quitting, he said, was the smell of tobacco on him after smoking.
“I came to speak with Emily for the first time…and my plan was to cut my cigarettes by 30% each week,” he said. “Talking with her, she reassured me that a goal could be achieved, and setting those achievable goals as you go has been a huge help.”
Every time he took a misstep, he said Galloway was there to get over it and help get him back on track.
The program, he said, was a “very significant life change” for him.
“I can’t tell you how proud my wife and 13-year-old son are that I don’t smoke anymore,” he said. “I don’t think I would have stopped everything if I hadn’t had a professional.”
Davidson said he received his first physical sometime after he quit smoking and he couldn’t believe how much better he looked, with much lower numbers on his cholesterol and triglycerides. He said he even lost weight afterwards.
“My body made a big rebound for the better,” he said. “It can be done. If you need help, this is a great place to go.”
Anyone interested in learning more about smoking cessation services through Healthpark can call 270-417-7564.