Sanford Program Helps Smokers Kick Habit | VideoMichelle San Miguel | 9/16/2012
Smoking related illnesses claim the lives of nearly 880 North Dakotans every year. Last December, Sanford Medical Center started a smoking cessation program. The hospital identifies patients who are tobacco users and pairs them up with a respiratory therapist who talks to the patient about the benefits of quitting.
"There are patients that are very resistant. They feel it`s their right to smoke and so once we`re able to kind of make them open up we let them see in a different way than they thought they were going to," said Teresa Kershaw, a respiratory therapist at Sanford Medical Center.
The therapist talks with the patient about ways to quit and can provide the patient with free nicotine replacement therapy. The therapist also discusses how to cope with the temptation to resort back to old habits.
"They identify triggers, be it right away in the morning when they get out of bed or when they have a cup of coffee or when they`re driving in the car," said Dr. Anthony Tello, corporate medical director and internal medicine doctor at Sanford. "What can they do to overcome that urge or that trigger to smoke?"
Every month about 100 patients are admitted into the program. About 30 percent of them quit smoking for good. It`s a program geared for both smokers and those who use smokeless tobacco.
Dr. Tello said, "One can of smokeless tobacco contains three times the amount of nicotine that one pack of cigarettes would have."
Every year medical claims combined with lost productivity costs total $442 million. Dr. Tello says a program like this will help reduce that figure.
Sanford Medical Center works with the ND Tobacco Quitline on this program. If you`re a smoker and want to quit, visit http://www.ndhealth.gov/ndquits/?id=55 for more information on resources available.