Quit smoking with new class
Want to quit smoking, but don't know how to begin? Tried to quit in the past, but found yourself relapsing? A new program launching this September at BIDMC is designed to meet you at any stage of the quitting process, whether you are just starting to think about a life without cigarettes or if you are ready to snuff out your habit.
Sean Gilman, MD, has teamed up with tobacco treatment specialist Kate Kooperman, to offer the six-week class on Tuesdays beginning Sept. 13 from 6-7 p.m. at BIDMC. The class is open to staff, patients and the public. It costs $100 and includes parking, class materials and snacks. To register, call 617-667-5864 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"There is a definite benefit to people coming together as a group to stop smoking," says Kooperman, who has led a similar program at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "It is difficult to quit smoking on your own, especially if you have friends and family who smoke. In a group setting, you can support each other."
Kooperman says the program is appropriate for participants at any stage in the quitting process and is designed to take a gradual approach to kicking the habit for good. "We prepare you for the shift," she says. "First, you try not smoking in your car. Then you try not smoking in your car and your home."
She and Gilman agree that stress is a major motivator for lighting up. The class will teach alternate ways of coping with stress and managing urges to smoke. And since Gilman is a pulmonologist, a supervised approach to quitting with prescription medication is an option.
"This class is unique in part because it is a medically supervised group," Gilman says. "Nicotine affects the brain in profound ways and often results in significant withdrawal symptoms during quit attempts. Nicotine replacement and newer medications that suppress the urge to smoke are available and very helpful to many individuals as a supplement to counseling. Our program will aim to be as comprehensive as possible including a session on how to avoid weight gain after quitting."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death. Gilman says quitting smoking is also one of the only ways to prolong life in patients with chronic lung disease.
"It's rewarding when a longtime smoker quits and remains abstinent from cigarettes," says Gilman, whose brother recently celebrated eight years smoke-free. "The group dynamic of the class should enhance the ability to quit for good."