Have you been thinking about quitting? Do you know someone that would like to stop smoking? Now is the time! FREE Smoking Cessation Classes are now being offered at Buena Vista University. The classes, open to the public, will begin Wednesday, September 22 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and will run for eight consecutive Wednesday sessions. The class will be taught by Kristi Bihrer, Registered Nurse for Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center.
The class is a step-by-step method for changing behaviors and quitting smoking. The class helps those attending figure out their smoking patterns and helps them develop a plan to quit smoking. "The Smoking Cessation Class goes through ways in which those trying to quit smoking can control their urges and their withdrawal symptoms that they experience when they quit," said Bihrer.
The class is given a quit date in October, one month from the starting of the class. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), such as gum, the patch or lozenges are offered to the individuals who complete the class if they need them. The Nicotine Replacement Therapies are provided by the Buena Vista County Prevention Initiative, a community coalition formed by concerned citizens of BV County whose mission is to prevent and reduce the negative impacts of substance abuse in the county.
"It is important to complete the class before the NRT because smoking is an addiction and a behavior. When you turn to NRT what you are doing is working through the behavior of smoking and changing that behavior so instead of smoking you can do something else such as exercising, stress management and weight control," Bihrer said.
There are several different forms of Nicotine Replacement Therapies. The patch, which comes in three stages - 21mg, 14mg, and 7 mg, is placed on the body for 24 hours at a time and helps reduce the urge to smoke as well as with withdrawal symptoms because nicotine is released in the individuals' system throughout the day.
Gum is another form of NRT. The gum is placed in the mouth to chew when the person trying to quit smoking has the urge to have a cigarette. After chewed, the gum is placed between the cheek and gums which allows the nicotine to be absorbed through the tissues. Lozenges work in the same manner, replacing the craving for a cigarette.
There are many benefits related to quitting smoking. Health-related aspects include a much lowered risk of disability and death from coronary heart disease and smoking-related lung disease such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema; taste buds come back to life and sense of smell improves; shortness of breath and cough decrease; fewer colds occur; circulation improves; your risk of getting lung cancer is reduced; as well as many others.
Societal benefits include not exposing others to second-hand smoke, which contains over 4,000 chemicals with 60 of those known to be cancer-causing substances; nonsmokers are more acceptable in public places and in the homes of nonsmoking friends; and setting a much better example for your children.
"Tobacco users remain the leading preventable cause of death in the US causing more than 440,000 death each year. Resulting in the annual cost of more than $75 billion in direct medical costs," said Bihrer.
Physical benefits include looking better and healthier, reducing wrinkles and the odor caused by cigarettes.
"Overall, the long-term results far outweigh the short-term consequences. Those trying to quit have short-term problems such as being unable to concentrate, anxiety and irritability, but those go away after awhile along with the urge to smoke," Bihrer said.
The Smoking Cessation class is sponsored by the Buena Vista County Prevention Initiative, Buena Vista Regional Medical Center and Buena Vista University Health Services.
For more information about the class or individual smoking cessation classes, call Kristi Bihrer at the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center at 732-4455, ext. 2326, or Pam Bogue at Buena Vista County Public Health, 749-2548. For additional help, Iowa has a quitline, 1-866-YOU-CANTRY (1-866-822-6879) or visit their website at quitlineiowa.org.