Great American Smokeout 2017 – Need help quitting?

Quitting has long-term benefits at any age.

Lynn Sprain, MS, RT, RCEP, smoking cessation program facilitator

The American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout is Thursday, November 16.

To support those who wish to participate in the Great American Smokeout, Winona Health’s Cardiac Rehabilitation department is offering free materials available for pick up in the hospital and clinic lobbies Monday through Friday, November 13 through 17 while supplies last. Winona Health is located at 855 Mankato Avenue.

“If you smoke, use the Great American Smokeout as your day to quit—or to make a plan to quit,” said Lynn Sprain, MS, RT, RCEP, with Winona Health’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Department. “By quitting, or even decreasing tobacco use, you will be taking a step toward a healthier life and reducing your cancer risk.”

According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. Smoking kills people – there’s no “safe” way to smoke tobacco.

“No doubt about it—quitting is hard,” Sprain said. “But it’s worth whatever effort it takes, and you can increase your chances of success with help. Getting help through counseling or medications can greatly improve the odds of quitting.”

Winona Health offers free, four-week smoking cessation programs three times each year. The next program begins Thursday, January 4, 2018. Sprain encourages smokers to use the Great American Smokeout to at least set a goal for cutting down on tobacco use, then sign up for the free program to help you quit for good. For more information about Winona Health’s free smoking cessation program, call 507.474.3324.

Long-term smokers who are concerned about the damage smoking may have done, should consider Winona Health’s CT Lung Cancer Screening. For information about CT Lung Screening, talk with your primary care provider.

Here’s a little motivation from Denver Brown, PA-C, in Family Medicine.

Denver Brown, PA-C

Smoking? You can be a quitter!

Denver Brown, PA-C

By Denver Brown, PA-C
Winona Health Family Medicine

“I’m ready,” he says with a sense of resolve. I feel excitement as a patient gives me the invitation to help him quit smoking. I know that without quitting, my patient’s chances of dying from a tobacco related disease is 2 out of 3.  Deciding to quit is a difficult place to come to and, for many, it is one of the most difficult things they will ever try. Statistically speaking, 70 percent of smokers want to quit. In the past year, 50 percent have attempted to quit, but only about 3 to 5 percent are successful long term if trying to quit without the help of counseling or medications.

Four years ago, I went through the Mayo Tobacco Treatment Specialist program and have been thankful to be better able to help my patients here at Winona Health quit smoking. Nicotine is very likely the most addictive substance known. I have had many patients tell me that they have been addicted to but were able to quit alcohol, meth, opioids, cocaine, marijuana and, for those coffee lovers, even caffeine! Yet I consistently hear that trying to quit smoking is the one thing they have struggled with most.

Recurrent nicotine use causes the brain change and the “want” for more and more nicotine. Not giving the brain the nicotine it wants leads to the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal: irritability, anxiety, cravings. Often, patients smoke to avoid withdrawal more than because they like the feeling that comes with smoking.

Here are statements reflecting misconceptions about tobacco and quitting followed by the facts:

  1. I switched to chewing tobacco because it is safer. Chewing tobacco is still very dangerous. It just changes the location of the cancer: instead of lung cancer, using chew puts you at high risk for throat and mouth cancer.
  2. I do not want to use gum or patches. I am already addicted to nicotine, why would I use more nicotine? This is a common question patients have. The patch, for example, delivers a slow steady release of nicotine throughout the day at much lower levels than are reached by smoking a cigarette. This helps give the brain a small amount of nicotine, enough to help control withdrawal and urges, but not enough to be addictive the same way smoking cigarettes is addictive.
  3. The nicotine gum and lozenges do not work. This is a common misunderstanding. Some people chew nicotine gum just like any other gum. However, the nicotine is absorbed through the mouth lining, not through the stomach. So, in order to get the benefit from nicotine gum or lozenges they should be “parked” under the lip similar to chewing tobacco. Again, these work by giving a smaller, slower dose of nicotine to ease withdrawal and urges to smoke. If you’ve tried the gum in the past and it did not work for you, I would recommend giving it another try.
  4. I switched to e-cigarettes to help me quit or as a safe alternative. E-cigarettes have not been around long enough to thoroughly study their long-term effects or safety and they currently have not proven to be effective for helping quitting.

My suggestion to those who want to quit is to try treatments that are proven safe and effective, such as quit lines, counseling, and medications like those available by prescription or the nicotine replacement products like patches or gum. Using these tools can increase your chances of quitting by 2 to 4 times compared to trying on your own.

My hope is that you are encouraged and inspired to give yourself and your loved ones the gift of being tobacco free. If you’d like help getting started, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider or click here to learn about upcoming programs.

Winona Health’s next FREE four-week program to help you quit smoking begins Thursday, August 31, 2017. To learn more or sign up, call 507.457.4161. Learn more or sign up here.




Free program to help smokers quit begins Thursday, August 31

You can be a quitter!

Winona Health is offering a free program to help people who want to quit smoking. The four-week program begins Thursday, August, 31, 2017.

“Quitting is definitely a challenge, but the payoff is worth the effort,” said Lynn Sprain MS, RT, RCEP, in the Cardiac Rehabilitation department at Winona Health. “Quitting pays off in improved health and provides relief from dependency on cigarettes or tobacco—and relief from the high cost of smoking.”

Winona Health’s smoking cessation program will:

  • Help individuals recognize and understand their reasons for smoking.
  • Cover the variety of benefits to quitting.
  • Provide ways to handle physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms.
  • Share tips and techniques for becoming and remaining smoke free.
  • Provide a supportive atmosphere for you to ask questions and get helpful information.

“The benefits of quitting are immediate.” said Sprain. “Whether this is your first time trying to quit, or you’ve tried several times before, this program is for you.”

This free program includes four sessions meeting Thursday evenings from August 31 through September 21, from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at Winona Health, 855 Mankato Avenue, Parkview Conference Room, hospital first floor.

RSVP is appreciated, but walk-ins the first night of the program will be welcome as space permits. To sign up, call 507.457.4161, or sign up here!