Join the Great American Smokeout

Northwestern Medicine
Pulmonology November 15, 2012
Man breaks cigarette in halfThe American Cancer Society is marking the 37th Great American Smokeout on November 15 by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit smoking and take an important step toward a healthier life.

Most smokers identify tobacco as harmful and would prefer to stop smoking. Nearly 35 million people attempt to quit each year, however, more than 90 percent of smokers who try to quit without treatment assistance will fail.

“There is no addiction more powerful – it is harder to get off nicotine than heroin, cocaine or alcohol,” says Carol Southard, MSN, tobacco treatment specialist at Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group. “However, research has shown that a combination of behavior and pharmacological treatments is effective in helping smokers quit.”

Smokers of all ages who quit start repairing their bodies right away. After only two weeks, lung function can increases by up to 30 percent and after a year the risk of heart disease drops by half. “Even for long-term smokers and those already suffering from smoking-related disease, quitting carries major and immediate health benefits,” says Southard.

The Northwestern Integrative Medicine Tobacco Cessation Program incorporates proven smoking cessation techniques and is designed to deal with the physical and emotional effects associated with quitting. Program sessions cover stress management, weight control and the benefits of quitting. Instead of emphasizing the dangers of smoking, it promotes new, lifelong, non-smoking behaviors.

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