[This story was written by Amanda Mulhern, Manager, St. Peter’s Health Partners Community Health Programs]
January is a time for New Year’s goals and resolutions. If quitting smoking or vaping is on your to do list for 2021, the Butt Stops Here can help!
Both vaping and smoking traditional cigarettes expose you to nicotine, an addictive drug, as well as heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals that can permanently damage your lungs and other organs. In addition, smokers are more likely to face an increased risk of developing a serious infection from COVID-19; quitting can help reduce the risk of serious illness.
While the percentage of people addicted to cigarettes has gone down, vaping addictions have dramatically risen, especially in our vulnerable youth population. And young people are particularly susceptible to nicotine addiction.
Nicotine can be neurotoxic to a developing brain. Most lifelong smokers start as teenagers and struggle long and hard to stop as adults. Flavored vape products are an added attraction to kids who like the buzz they get, but without the harshness of a traditional cigarette. New York state has taken progressive action to ban the sale of such products to anyone under the age of 21 to protect the health of our children.
The most successful way to stop smoking or vaping includes:
- Consulting and receiving support from your physician. For youth, the conversation should start with their pediatrician or primary care provider, with additional behavioral health or psychotherapy services, as needed.
- Using some type of nicotine replacement therapy or other pharmacology.
- Attending a support or educational class, such as the Butt Stops Here.
The Butt Stops Here is offering FREE virtual classes, via computer or phone. The program includes:
- Seven one-hour sessions with a trained facilitator.
- A participant workbook.
Materials and log-in information will be provided upon registration.
Our next session begins Thursday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m., and several more are already planned for February and March. Join us, and make 2021 the year you quit! Learn more and register at sphp.com/quitsmoking