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Health department offers smoking cessation course

By Melissa Stedman

Staff Writer

On Aug. 5, the San Juan Basin Health Department (SJBHD) will hold an informational meeting regarding a smoking cessation course offered to adults in Pagosa Springs.

The Freedom From Smoking (FFS) group clinic consists of eight sessions and is delivered by an American Lung Association-trained facilitator.

These sessions involve smaller groups, from eight to 10 people, in order to provide personalized attention for all participants. Each person in the group also receives support from their peers in the group who are following the same steps and group work.

The curriculum is based on the latest research about nicotine replacement therapy such as gum, inhalers, patches, lozenges and nasal spray, as well as other smoking cessation medications such as Zyban and Chantix.

Each clinic session bases its techniques on pharmacological and psychological principals and methods designed to help smokers gain control over their behavior. The group clinic also takes in to consideration that not all techniques work for all smokers, therefore, the program includes a variety of evidence-based cessation techniques.

According to SJBHD, the program incorporates step-by-step plans for quitting smoking.

The cessation course will be led by local resident Kimberly Bradshaw. As a former smoker, Bradshaw has been smoke free for a number of years and is trained as a facilitator in the FFS program.

According to Amber Beye, SJBHD community organizer and director of the coalition, SJBHD conducted a community readiness survey on the topic of tobacco use.

“One of the things that we kept hearing from those surveyed is that there was nowhere for people to go who wanted to quit smoking,” said Beye. “There was a quit line, but not a group. With that, we in the coalition (Celebrating Healthy Communities Coalitions) decided to get people trained.”

The coalition has provided the opportunity for community members and residents to become trained Freedom from Smoking (FFS) facilitators in order to assist them as they help other members of the community locate local resources to quit smoking. This is a way to provide Archuleta residents opportunities to improve their health.

“The American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking (FFS) program is for adults who are ready to quit smoking,” reads an FFS document. “Because most people know that smoking is dangerous to their health, the program focuses almost exclusively on how to quit, not why to quit.”

The FFS group clinic began in 1981, following the leadership of the American Lung Association development of a smoking cessation program in 1975. FFS incorporates three different approaches, including media, self-help, and clinic in order to reach different segments of the population.

In 1980, the FFS introduced a self-help manual, which compliments the lessons from the FFS group clinic and provides smokers with additional reinforcement, motivation and information.

According to the FFS document, “The workbook format gets smokers involved as they customize the book for their own reasons and motivations to quit, thus ensuring greater efficacy.”

All products used by the FFS group program have been regularly reviewed and updated, meeting the, “America’s gold standard in smoking cessation programs.”

The informational meeting will be held from 6-7 p.m. at the Goal Academy facility on Country Center Drive on Aug. 5. The purpose of the meeting will be to describe the program and the cost of the program, as well as to allow Bradshaw to detail expectations. The meeting is open to the public.

In addition to the opportunity to work in a group with the FFS clinic, an internet-based program is offered online, available 24-7, at http://www.ffsonline.org.

Melissa.Stedman@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on July 25, 2013.