WRMC offering program to help people kick smoking habit - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

WRMC offering program to help people kick smoking habit

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BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – People are counting down the hours until 2013, but they may also be tracking how much time is left before they start their New Year's resolution.

One of the most popular resolutions will be to stop smoking, and one local hospital is helping people to kick that habit for good.

White River Medical Center (WRMC) in Batesville has developed a program that aims to guide people through the many issues related to stamping out cigarettes.

"Just the same as diet, exercise, we see ‘stop smoking' [resolutions]," said Jennifer Coleman.

Coleman supervises the WRMC Cardiac/Pulmonary Rehab, which leads tobacco cessation classes that start again January 9.

"We do have a higher amount of people participate in January, for sure," she said.

"People who come," she added, "do have a higher success rate if they want to quit. We see that with everything we do whether I see it through a diet-related person or whether we see it through the tobacco problems as well. If they want to quit, they do have a higher success rate."

To help them successfully quit, the smokers meet with a certified nicotine dependence counselor during a three-week course made up of four sessions.

During the first session, the counselor will help them identify ways to cope with symptoms of withdrawal, including weight gain, irritability and cravings.

The participants learn about forming a support group to encourage them on the difficult task ahead. They also receive information about medications and nicotine replacement therapy that have proven effective to quitting.

"Studies have shown that people who do the counseling as well as the medications have a higher success rate of quitting," Coleman said.

In the New Year, WRMC is targeting local businesses too.

The hospital hopes employers will want to help their employees stop smoking, which will not only make their workers more productive but also save them money.

"A one-pack-per-day smoker spends on average about $1,700 a year," Coleman said. "What we do, we have them set aside that money and then reward themselves at some point in time with what they've gained with that money."

The hospital tried out these different methods on a few of its own employees, resulting in several success stories of quitting, according to Coleman.

While the hospital employees took the class free of charge, others will have to pay a fee.

Coleman says Medicare and most health insurance plans will cover the costs.

To find out about payment options or to secure a spot in the next tobacco cessation class, call the White River Medical Center's Cardiac/Pulmonary Rehab at 870-262-6168.

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