Stop smoking for New Year's?

December 27, 2007 3:50:31 PM PST
It's time again for New Year's resolutions. One of the most common ones is to stop smoking.

At Holy Redeemer Hospital, and most other Montgomery County hospitals, there will be extra incentive.

They go smoke-free, indoors and out, on January 1st.

For Holy Redeemer, the smoking ban even applies to outpatient offices far from the hospital.

Nurse Cathy West stopped smoking before, but gave in to stress.

Now she's getting ready to stop for good.

West says, "I've been trying to cut down in anticipation of the new rule, but I wish I had a little more notice. But sometimes, I think it's better, you can stop if you have to face it."

To help employees quit, the hospital is offering a $150 incentive, to be used for nicotine replacement products, medications, or counseling.

Smoking counselor Lori Fadden, a nurse who kicked the habit herself 18 years ago, says getting help really boosts the chance of success.

Fadden says giving up cigarettes takes more than will power.

"Your brain chemistry changes. Your brain starts to look for that nicotine," she says.

Fadden says first, determine what role smoking plays in your life - and start changing that pattern.

She suggests, "Think about the times of the day that you smoke - where you are, what you're doing, and try to change those things, so that your brain doesn't begin to look for that cigarette."

West believes she'll be OK at work, but - "For me, it's more when I'm driving in the car, or I'm at home, when I have free time that it's actually more difficult not to."

Fadden says if you slip, don't give up - just try another method.

She explains, "They see themselves as being weak. And that's not true. You know, the chemistry can be different for every person, so it can be more difficult for some people."

West add, "You just have to want to do it, realize it won't be easy, but it's worth it in the long run....and it's a really good feeling that you know you can do it."

State health departments in our area also have free quitlines to support smokers trying to kick the habit.

In Pennsylvania, just dial 1-800 QUIT NOW.

In New Jersey, the number is 1-866-NJ STOPS.

And in Delaware, call 1-866-409-1858.