Five graduate smoking cessation classes
Published 9:21 am Friday, February 26, 2016
He tried to quit, and he was successful for about a year and half. But it’s been 10 years since then, and almost 35 years since he began to smoke cigarettes. Now learning to manage degenerative heart disease and using supplemental oxygen are constant reminders to him of the effects of smoking.
On Thursday, Feb. 25, Scott Forrester and four fellow Carter Countians successfully completed the first-ever Freedom from Smoking course with the Carter County Health Department (CCHD).
Two participants snuffed out the habit completely, and three significantly cut back. They said they found the class very helpful and plan to return for the second eight-week series.
Forrester actually quit before the scheduled quit date because his health demanded it, and his doctor recommended it. He began taking oxygen on Jan. 8, the day after he quit.
Being part of a group sharing the same struggle, fighting the same temptation is what he said has helped him to resist.
“Being able to talk with other people that are trying to quit makes a big difference,” said Forrester. “It will help a lot of people if they continue the program, but first and foremost, they have to want to do it.”
It’s been almost two months and he said he is sticking with it.
“The hardest part for me is being around other smokers,” he said. “It’s easy to fall back on old habits.”
To prepare the class graduates to resist the temptation, Jilian Reece, Health Educator for the Tobacco Settlement with CCHD reminded them to take control of all areas of their health and lives. She advised awareness when exposed to cigarette advertisements, healthy eating and challenging their thinking daily in order to better manage stress.
Being in control of the self is a theme throughout the class series. Learning what triggers the need to smoke and what drives the addiction are among first steps of quitting for good. The support of the group is what participants agreed made the sessions so effective.
“Being with others that are trying to quit and that are supportive helped a lot,” said Darrell Clark, a first-time quitter after smoking for 40 years. He said getting started was the hardest part, but the class made that step easier.
Jim and Donna Liverman and Jacey James completed the program and are now smoking significantly less. Jim said the tools provided in the class along with the group environment are what make it so effective.
Jim began smoking at age 13, and now at age 70, he is working towards quitting. “Having idle time and not being able to do much makes it hard to quit,” he said.
He expected to see more people in the class and said those that participate in the next series are sure to benefit.
“If we could get one person to quit, then that would be successful, and we had two quit after smoking for more than 30 years,” said Allison Foster, Health Educator with the CCHD.
The next class series will begin on March 1 at 5 p.m. at the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library. Classes meet weekly and will conclude on April 12. Materials and sessions are valued at between $75 and $150 per class and are offered for free. Food and educational childcare is provided.
For more information, contact Reece at 423-543-2521 ext. 312.