[This piece was written by Erin Sinisgalli, director of St. Peter’s Health Partners Community Health Programs.]
If you have a dad or grandfather in your life – or even a brother, son or uncle for that matter – who smokes, give them the gift of good health this Father’s Day. Make this the year you help them kick the smoking habit.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths. Men are more likely than women to be current smokers, particularly among individuals aged 45-64 years, where nearly 17 of every 100 adults smoke.
Keep in mind, your loved one likely knows he should quit smoking. You’ve probably asked him countless times to stop. You don’t want to nag him, however, which may have the opposite effect and discourage him from quitting.
The best approach is an honest conversation where you tell him how you feel. Let him know how proud you are of him and how much you love him. Be a supportive voice and encourage him to take the first step towards quitting.
A good place to start is contacting the NYS Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visiting www.nysmokefree.com. They offer free support over the phone and online and, based on health history and age (18+), participants are eligible for a free starter kit of nicotine patches.
Remind your loved one if he is ready to quit, he should talk to his doctor. His doctor will be a key ally in determining what approach will work best. Remember that most people try many times and with a variety of products before they are able to give up smoking permanently, so don’t give up!
To assist in the journey, tell your dad there are programs that can help him manage quitting long-term. St. Peter’s Health Partners offers a seven-week program, The Butt Stops Here, which is a combination of group support, education, and nicotine replacement medications. The group-supported program meets weekly and is led by a St. Peter’s Health Partners facilitator.
The Butt Stops Here program is currently being offered at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany and Samaritan Hospital – St. Mary’s Campus in Troy. For more information or to register, call Anne Lawton at (518) 525-1827 for the Albany program, or Therese O’Callaghan at (518) 268-6442 for the Troy program.
St. Peter’s Health Partners Community Health Programs is partially funded by grants from the NYS Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Control. For more information on the Butt Stops Here program and tobacco cessation options, or to register for a program online, visit www.sphp.com/community-wellness-programs.