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Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
Army Veteran Kicks the Habit
Wednesday, November 14, 2012Over the course of 50 years, Mark Current would smoke four packs of cigarettes daily. There was little hope that the 67-year-old Army Veteran would kick the habit. But with the help of Truman VA “Quit Classes”, he is now tobacco free.
Mark says the support and education offered in the classes helped him be successful. He adds, “You get over the physical addiction in a few weeks, but the class prepares you for the mental and habit part of the addiction.” He used the information and materials provided in class to change his routine and learn healthier habits.
Mark used nicotine replacement therapy (patches and gum) to help manage physical urges. He also made a personal plan to cope with the situations and emotions that triggered the urge to smoke. He kept his hands busy and learned techniques to keep his mind off smoking when the urge came unexpectedly. With time, urges came less often. He found the urge would pass in three to five minutes whether he smoked or not. He says sticking with your “quit plan” is important, but the most important thing is being determined and making a commitment to quit and stay quit.
Mark found that quitting with other Veterans was helpful. “We learned from each other and offered support. We went through it together, which lowered the fear of quitting.”
Since quitting, Mark’s health has improved and he is saving money no longer buying cigarettes. Most importantly, he feels better about himself and more in control. He says, “You’ve got to give it up to be in control.”
Mark’s advice to other Veterans who doubt they can quit is to sign up for the “Quitting Tobacco” course. He says, “They offer coaching and support. If you follow the coaching, you’ll make it. It does take effort and commitment, but if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!”
To learn more about your quitting options, ask your VA primary care team for a referral to the “Thinking about Quitting” class offered monthly at Truman VA. Check out the Truman VA website for more information about the Thinking about Quitting class: http://www.columbiamo.va.gov/
Brought to you by the Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program.