Bristol Hospital together with the American Lung Association are offering a class to help the public reach their New Year’s resolutions to stop smoking.
The smoking cessations class is designed by the American Lung Association and took 30 years to develop, explained Tom Berrill, a respiratory therapist with Bristol Hospital.
Individuals looking to quit aren’t asked to stop smoking right away when they attend the class. Instead, a quit date is scheduled for the fourth weekend after the class, Berrill explained.
For the first three-weeks the individual’s addiction is studied and they learn to live as a nonsmoker, he said. The purpose is to identify why the individuals want to quit smoking and “brings it to the forefront of their minds,” he noted.
“They focus on the reasons for quitting, whether grandchildren, children, health, the cost,” Berrill said. “They usually have more than one reason, because not only is it unhealthy, but it’s unhealthy for relationships.”
After individuals recognize their motivation to quit smoking, they identify alternative behaviors to replace the habit, Berrill said. “Smoking takes up so much of someone's life, there has to be a replacement behavior,” he added.
Berrill explained that the class emphasizes short-term lifestyle changes to quit, such as what someone is going to do instead of smoking in the morning. Then the class focuses on long-term lifestyle changes, for example, developing a new hobby, interest or starting to volunteer, he said.
“It’s a lifestyle change,” he said. “Unless you’re a smoker, you don’t realize how consuming it is in your thoughts. So we find alternatives, and also we learn to alter the situation, especially for the first few weeks. You find the three most difficult cigarettes to give up and then find something healthy to substitute for them.”
The lung association’s success rate for the class is 61 percent and dozens have quit through the smoking cessation class at Bristol Hospital, according to Berrill.
“It is really satisfying to me because I was a heavy smoker and I had a really hard time quitting,” he said. “All they have to do is want to quit. There has to be a strong motivation, and we’ll do everything we can to enhance that motivation.”
The smoking cessation class is slated for Jan. 15, at 6:30 p.m., at Ingraham Manor Nursing Home, 400 N. Main. St. Call the Bristol Hospital Counseling Center at 860-583-5858 to make an appointment.