WRMC offering program to help people kick smoking habit

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – People are counting down the hoursuntil 2013, but they may also be tracking how much time is left before theystart 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 hasdeveloped a program that aims to guide people through the many issues relatedto stamping out cigarettes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The participants learn about forming a support group toencourage them on the difficult task ahead. They also receive information aboutmedications and nicotine replacement therapy that have proven effective toquitting.

"Studies have shown that people who do the counseling aswell 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 theiremployees stop smoking, which will not only make their workers more productivebut also save them money.

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

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

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

Coleman says Medicare and most health insurance plans will coverthe costs.

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

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