St. Luke’s Hospital offers support group to help smokers break habit

Published 8:00 am Thursday, December 27, 2018

St. Luke’s Hospital offers a free, ongoing support group to help smokers and tobacco users prepare physically and mentally to stop smoking for life.

“The beginning of a New Year is always a good time to make a resolution to quit cigarettes or other tobacco products, and we’re here to help people keep that New Year’s resolution,” said Lisa West, a respiratory therapist at St. Luke’s Hospital. “Our goal is to help smokers discover ways to give up a habit that annually is responsible for the deaths of half a million Americans alone. Simply put, tobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the United States.”

Lead therapist for the support group, West added that studies from the American Cancer Society and American Lung Association indicate that benefits start within 20 minutes of quitting.

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“In just 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your heart rate drops to a normal level,” she said. “Twelve hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal, and within two weeks of quitting, the risk of a heart attack begins to drop and your lung function improves.”

Taught by St. Luke’s Hospital’s team of registered respiratory therapists, the class offers participants educational tips and guidelines on smoking cessation best practices.

“The class is interactive,” West pointed out. “Feedback and support from participants is encouraged and has a positive effect on outcomes.”

Weekly meetings include guest speakers, tips on nutrition, videos and handouts, and participants can join the support group at any point in time.

The group meets every Thursday from 7-8 pm., in room 208 of St. Luke’s Hospital’s administrative hallway. Signage with directions to the meeting room will be posted at the front entrance to St. Luke’s Hospital.

Those interested in learning more about the group can call West at 828-894-0847. New quitters are invited to contact West for one-on-one assistance prior to the Thursday evening group meeting.

– Submitted by St. Luke’s Hospital