Smoking cessation help offered

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

Smoking cessation has a 90 percent success rate of people quitting smoking or reducing the amount they smoke. The free program is sponsored by Roosevelt General Hospital, and the Amercian Lung Association, and gives clients a chance to change their lives by being smoke-free.

The eight-week course is held in a friendly environment where people can talk about their smoking habits, and relate to other people who are there for the same reasons.

Counselor Bill Rice said the cost of cigarettes has gone up so much that it is a huge factor in people wanting to quit.

“We have people sign up and we never see them again after the first time,” Rice said. “Usually if they come back the second time, they are there for the duration of the class and a lot of those people quit.”

Someone can take the course as many times as they need to help them to quit. The class has been getting a lot of attention from the New Mexico Health Department about their success in helping people to quit.

Tuesday is quit week, Rice said with a smile and a laugh.

“The fourth week is the quit date (to stop smoking),” Rice said. “It’s always interesting, I try to get out of it if I can, but I’m not going to make it. That’s when they have to quit, that’s a part of what they agreed to, and they bring in their cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays.”

The program is funded by the state through tobacco settlements. A part of that money is used to fund this and other programs.

Counselor Laura Murdock and Rice tag team the class to help the people. Murdock does all the paper work for the program, and both of them teach the class.

Rice said Murdock is “my straight man for all my jokes, the classes are a lot of fun.”

“I think 25 people have quit smoking with program, with patients, families and co-workers,” Murdock said. “We open up the meeting and let everyone introduce themselves, and we ask them how much they smoke.”

“In a past class one gentleman said ‘If you pick up a cigarette after you quit, you can’t go back,’” Murdock said.

“We do allow them to come back to try again, however, as many times they need to.”

Information: Laura Murdock 359-1800 ext 471.