[This piece was written by Anne Lawton, RN, a Butt Stops Here facilitator and cancer community outreach nurse, St. Peter’s Health Partners.]
Is quitting smoking or vaping on your list of things to do this year? If it is, there is help available to assist you to make your quit attempt successful.
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. The percentage of people addicted to cigarettes has gone down, but vaping addictions have dramatically risen, especially in our vulnerable youth population.
Youth 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.
Because of this, vaping has become epidemic with kids and much of the past work of eliminating tobacco has been erased. As important as it is to get our youth to never start using tobacco, it is equally important to get those addicted the help they need to stop.
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 Class offered at St Peter’s Health Partners.
St. Peter’s Health Partners is committed to helping people break their addiction to nicotine in all stages of life. The Butt Stops Here, a program specifically targeted to fight nicotine addiction, is being offered multiple times in 2020 at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany (518-525-1827) and St. Mary’s in Troy (518-268-6442).
This facilitator-run program is open to anyone 18 years and older with a nicotine addiction such as smoking, vaping, and chewing tobacco. The next series of classes begins January 6 in Albany and January 21 in Troy. For more information or to register, please visit http://www.sphp.com/classes-events
Help can also be found by contacting the NYS Quitline by calling 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487).