They Quit... You Can Too!
Scott Wilson, Smoke free since February 2013
Nicotine had a grip on Scott Wilson’s life for 20 years, but he is now smoke free! Scott is a Sacred Heart associate employed in Trauma Services as the Trauma Performance Improvement Data Analyst at SHHP.
Scott and his wife, Jennifer, both tried to quit individually, and even tried together at one time. Even their children, Kevin, 9, and Allison, 6, urged them to stop smoking. “When you have two people under the same roof both going through withdrawal at the same time, it’s not the best way to quit,” says Scott. He tried using Chantix, Wellbutrin and even quitting “cold turkey” on his own, but was not successful.
The turning point for Jennifer came on a day when she was volunteering in her daughter’s classroom. Students were asked to name things that smelled. Some children mentioned flowers, their mother’s perfume, etc. Allison remarked that her mother smelled like smoke. It was an eye-opening moment for Jennifer, according to Scott. She quit on Jan. 11, 2013. Then he decided he really wanted to quit smoking for Lent that same year, and one of his co-workers remarked, “Why wait until Lent?” So on Feb. 7, 2013, Scott made the decision to quit.
Co-workers Kim Benjamin and Sheri Pyle, both of Cardiology Services, recommended Sacred Heart’s six-week tobacco-cessation program, which is free to any Sacred Heart associate. Participants can choose between day or evening classes, and all sessions are held in the Carmel Heights building on the SHHP campus. Scott chose the Tuesday evening sessions. He joined a group of five other people all striving together to quit tobacco with the help of instructors Sheila Kirchharr and Sharon Warren.
“I was a little skeptical at first, but the instructors won me over,” says Scott. “I can’t sing their praises enough. Sharon and Sheila probably saved my life.”
The fact that one of the instructors is a former smoker lends credibility to the program, according to Scott, and both instructors provided a wealth of information and positive reinforcement. He learned he could combine other therapies, along with Wellbutrin, to help him cope with withdrawal symptoms and to help him slowly eliminate his addition to nicotine. He appreciated the fact that “it’s ok to stumble as long as you get back on the program.”
Since he maintains a lot of statistics in his job, he found the initial carbon-monoxide test and the subsequent measurements to be a great way to visualize his progression to a healthier life. “I could see the number drop each time I took the test in class,” says Scott. “By the end of the six weeks, the level of carbon monoxide in my blood had gone down to almost nothing.”
In addition to the health benefits, Scott and Jennifer are enjoying the financial savings resulting from kicking the habit. “We considered ourselves light smokers and we were spending $200 a month on cigarettes!” he says. They will soon pay off both of their cars with the savings they have achieved by becoming smoke free.
Karen Sapp, Outpatient Consultation
Smoke free since January 2003
During her life, Karen tried to quit smoking several times on her own. After 30 years of smoking, she decided it truly was time to quit – not only for her health, but to be there for her children. She chose Sacred Heart’s program because she heard about it from other former smokers who completed the program with long-term success. Karen says she not only received information on how to stop smoking, she also discovered the emotional support needed to truly kick the habit.
"When I quit smoking, I noticed an increase in my overall body energy. I quit coughing and I didn’t smell like smoke anymore. Smoking ties you down. I didn’t want to worry about having to have a cigarette.”
Richard Devereux, Smoking Cessation Program Participant
Shortness of breath. Increased blood pressure. Low energy level. These are some of the reasons Richard decided to quit smoking. Because of the physical effects of smoking on his health, Richard couldn’t even enjoy playing with his children anymore. That’s when he knew he had to quit for life. He enrolled in the Freedom from Smoking program at Sacred Heart and found the combination of nicotine replacement therapy, Wellbutrin, and group support very valuable. Today, he continues to use the techniques and coping skills he learned in class.
“I never understood the process of addiction. It helped me to hear and understand how nicotine affects you. Additionally, it was helpful to be accountable to the group.”
Joseph Salazar, Hospital patient
Smoke Free Since May 7, 1999
At the tender age of 8, Joseph Salazar lit up his first cigarette. After 54 years of smoking, he has finally put out his cigarettes for good. Joseph was seen as an in patient at Sacred Heart Hospital after having open-heart surgery. He then received an individual smoking cessation consultation. With the department's help, he is not only smoke free, but he also has begun to feel better, eat better, and be more physically active.
"I had gotten to the point where I could chew one pound of tobacco a week and smoke anywhere from 2-4 packs a day. But, Sacred Heart made me care about quitting. If someone else cares, it makes you care also."
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Start to Stop!
Becoming a NON-SMOKER is a process, not just a single act. YOU can make choices and changes that affect your lifestyle and these changes will lead to the goal of a TOBACCO-FREE life.
Let Us Show You How to Quit for Good!
Many smokers who try to stop on their own are successful. However, 95 out of 100 people who try to stop cold turkey are not successful. Research shows that the best success is achieved by getting help in dealing with all three parts of the nicotine addiction (physical, psychological, and habitual). The more help you get, the better your chances of stopping for good. Your success will be greatly influenced by how much you want to stop using tobacco.
Our programs have been proven to work better. The Tobacco Cessation Program tracks the smoking status of everyone who uses its
services for a full year. One-year stop rates reported by participants in the Sacred Heart Tobacco Cessation programs are double the national average quit rates.
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