system spotlightPHYSICAL THERAPY

Kick Butts

You can quit smoking with support

If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your body. No matter how long you’ve been a smoker, when you quit, you lower your risk for lung cancer, heart disease and many other ailments.

But quitting isn’t easy. “It’s an addiction, and we understand that it is very hard to quit for good,” says Laura Schutt, RN, CTTS, a smoking cessation specialist at the UHS Stay Healthy Center at the Oakdale Mall. “The success rate is much higher when you have emotional support and medical support.”

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that about 5 percent of people who try to quit succeed without a quit-smoking medication. But the success rate is more than 30 percent with medication. And the chance of success is even better when you combine medication with behavioral therapy, whether it’s counseling in a group or one on one.

GETTING THE SUPPORT YOU NEED

As a smoking cessation specialist, Ms. Schutt regularly helps people increase their chances of success by directing them to resources for nicotine replacement therapy and counseling them on getting started, handling cravings and dealing with setbacks.

“The most important thing is to have a plan for how you are going to quit and what you are going to do when stressful situations occur,” says Ms. Schutt. “Because those stressful situations will occur, and that is when most people pick up a tobacco product again.”

The more support a person has, the more likely they are to stay on course. “Any type of support, whether family, friends or coworkers, can help keep the quitter motivated,” she says.

Professional support, like that provided at the UHS Stay Healthy Center, can provide the extra push toward success. “We are a nonjudgmental source of support,” Ms. Schutt says. “A lot of people respond to that.”

SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITY

The UHS Stay Healthy Center extends its reach to even more people by taking part in local and national campaigns. This fall, the center had a special table in the Oakdale Mall for Kick Butts Day on October 12, a national day of activism to protect kids from tobacco. The center will host a table again for the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout on November 19 to encourage people to make this a tobacco-free day.

The UHS Stay Healthy Center is also a member of Tobacco Free Broome and Tioga, a partnership of local organizations and individuals who work together to offer community programs in tobacco prevention, cessation, advocacy and education.

“We do what we can to promote a healthier community that is tobacco free,” says Ms. Schutt.

 

FACTS ABOUT SMOKING

Nearly 7 out of every 10 current U.S. smokers report that they want to quit completely.

In New York, the percentage of adults who currently smoke cigarettes is 18.1%, ranking 8th among the states.

Each year in the United States, cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke causes 443,000—or 1 in 5—deaths.

61.6% of New York adult smokers made a quit attempt in the past year, ranking 5th among the states.

 
LEARN MORE …

The UHS Stay Healthy Center at the Oakdale Mall offers tobacco cessation information, classes, and counseling over the telephone free of charge. To speak to a smoking cessation specialist, call the Stay Healthy Center at 763-5091.