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Special class offers help in kicking cigarette habit

People with New Year’s resolutions to quit smoking can find someextra help from others with the same wish through an American LungAssociation class.

“We’re looking at having another class around the first of theyear in conjunction with all the New Year’s resolutions people maketo quit,” said Kim Bridge, community education coordinator atKing’s Daughters Medical Center, which along with Lipsey MiddleSchool’s Project Clear, is sponsoring the class.

Freedom From Smoking, which has already been taught twice atKDMC, offers smokers the chance to quit through a successfulprocess that lasts about a month.

“They don’t just walk in on day one and quit,” said Bridge. “Welook at their habits and try to identify why they smoke.”

During the first of seven class meetings, smokers set a quitdate that is around three weeks away. Then smokers study theirhabits and learn more about why they smoke, whether it isaddiction, habit or stress-related.

After learning why they turn to cigarettes during certain times,smokers can steer clear of any negative situations when attemptingto quit.

“Everyone has situations or triggers that cause them to smoke,so we try to change those,” said Bridge.

Class participants are armed with a workbook full of informationand tips. Participants meet at least once a week to discuss theirfeelings and support each other’s efforts.

“We also develop a buddy system so they can have somebody who’sgoing through the same thing, and that helps tremendously,” saidBridge.

The American Lung Association suggests that smokers who areseriously thinking of quitting enroll in some type of class orsupport group because the help from others is vital during such asignificant change.

Once participants reach the scheduled quit day, they need evenmore support to help them through symptoms such as withdrawals.

“We meet twice during the quit day week to see how everyone’sdoing,” explained Bridge. “It’s not easy for them, but the classdoes help.”

While attempting to quit smoking, participants are encouraged tomake another lifestyle change: eat healthy and exerciseregularly.

“The healthy eating and exercise makes people feel better,” saidBridge, adding that participants also begin to feel more in controlof their lives.

Participants also receive help from former smokers who canrelate to their symptoms and feelings, said Bridge.

“At one of our classes, we had two sisters who had smoked forwell over 25 years each. Now they serve as an inspiration,” hesaid.

So far, the classes have had a 60 percent success rate, which isextremely good for such a difficult transition, Bridge pointedout.

For more information about Freedom From Smoking, contact Bridgeat 835-9406.