10/25/04 — Seminar set to help smokers quit

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Seminar set to help smokers quit

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 25, 2004 1:58 PM

A seminar to help smokers break the habit will be held next month.

WATCH Substance Abuse Task Force is sponsoring the free seminar, planned for Tuesday, Nov. 9, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Wayne County public schools' administrative building on Royall Avenue.

This is the fourth year the group has been the host of the event, says organizer and chairman of the task force Joyce Kelly. It reflects the group's mission statement, she said, "to raise awareness of the substance abuse and addiction issues facing our community."

Anyone with the desire to quit smoking or even considering it is invited. The seminar is for any age, Ms. Kelly said, noting that information has also been distributed through the schools, because teens are among those who take up the habit.

The local effort is typically scheduled to coincide with the national "Great American Smoke-Out" on Nov. 15.

The decision to stop smoking is not always easy and can take time, Ms. Kelly said.

"They say you can break most habits in 28 days," she said, noting that the smoking addiction is not one easily broken.

"The stages of change that we learn in substance abuse counseling start out with pre-contemplation, contemplation, then preparation," she said, which might include setting a date to throw away the cigarettes and evaluating all the help that is out there such as gum, the patch or medication.

The final two stages before a person is ready to quit, she said, are action and maintenance.

"Then they're going to need some support for themselves," she said.

That is why former smokers, particularly those who may have stopped recently, are also welcome at the seminar.

"They may come for reinforcement," she said. "Sharing helps them keep their motivation."

The seminar is going to be packed with information, she said, including its most popular feature, hypnotherapy.

Area physicians will be among the speakers, with participants given time to break into smaller discussion groups. Each group will be led by a former smoker.

There will also be handouts available, which include resources and information about support through the Internet.

Dr. Clark Gaither, medical director for WATCH, will be the evening's moderator. Dr. Jim Atkins of Southeastern Medical Oncology Center will speak about the health risks of smoking, and Dr. Gool Gupta of Wayne Heart and Internal Medicine Associates will focus on the effects on the lungs.

"We'll cover the benefits of quitting and the issues that get in the way," Ms. Kelly said. "We'll also talk about nutritional aspects and the importance of having a plan."

She said the smaller groups will also allow participants to think of things that will help them stop smoking and of things they might need to achieve the goal.

The evening will conclude with hypnotherapy, a 30-minute process that includes relaxation exercises to help break the smoking habit.

For more information on the seminar, contact Ms. Kelly at 734-1579.