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CU Expert Offers Tips to Quit Smoking as Omaha Ban Takes Effect

CU Expert Offers Tips to Quit Smoking as Omaha Ban Takes Effect

(Editors: Patients participating in Creightonís smoking cessation program are available for interviews.)

The start of Omahaís new smoking ordinance, which bans smoking in most public places beginning Oct. 2, is the perfect time to kick the habit, advises Timothy Grollmes, tobacco treatment specialist at Creighton Cardiac Center.

Among the tactics Grollmes suggests to stop smoking:

  •  Set a date to quit smoking within the next 30 days. Then switch the brand of cigarette you typically smoke, cutting back gradually as you approach that deadline.
  •  Donít associate your final days of smoking with other activities such as drinking.
  •  To hold yourself accountable, tell people you are quitting.
  •  Substitute smoking with a positive behavior such as walking to relieve stress.

And, if at first you donít succeed, donít be too hard on yourself, Grollmes says. Slips occur and donít equal a relapse. Studies show that it can take several attempts to stop completely.

Nicotine is a powerful and addictive agent. And, according to a recent report, the level of nicotine found in U.S. cigarettes has increased about 10 percent over the last six years, making it even harder to quit.

On average, only 25 percent of those who quit cold turkey succeed on their own. You can improve your odds by seeking outside help, Grollmes says. About 50 percent of those who receive behavioral counseling are still not smoking after two years. Counseling combined with medication increases the success rate to 70-75 percent.

And, there is good news for chocolate lovers. Grollmes says itís okay to indulge in an occasional piece or two. The key is moderation.

ďThe brain connects tobacco to food. When you quit smoking, itís okay to give in to an occasional craving, just donít overdo it,Ē he comments. If you follow this advice, any weight gain should be limited to 3-5 pounds, he adds.

Creightonís 12-year-old smoking cessation program is one of the oldest in Nebraska and among the most comprehensive in the country. It offers individual and group counseling as well as follow-up support groups. The program includes a $40 one-time assessment fee; an eight-session group counseling plan costs $75. For more information, call 402.280.5287.

Posted: 9/27/06

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