Group Smoking Cessation Classes:

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Hi everyone! I'm Carrie, and I've been contributing to this blog off and on, documenting my experiences with tobacco dependence. My contribution has been an experiment of sorts--providing a patient's perspective along with experts in the field of tobacco dependence. My previous posts were written while I was still smoking. I set a couple of quit dates, and for various reasons (and excuses) they fell through. This is my first post where I'm writing smoke free. Seven days and 16.5 hours ago I had my last inhale of tobacco...hopefully, for good.

I joined a 4 week smoking cessation group conducted by the Tobacco Education Center at UCSF. Our last class was this past Tuesday. I can't express enough how eye opening these classes are. If you're trying to quit, don't go it alone. Attending these classes will prepare you for the battle of your life. You'll have a stock pile of ammunition to combat the tobacco companies' sly ways of keeping you a slave to their products.

In my next few posts, I will go over the highlights of these classes or, at least, what I found very thought provoking. I will also be attending a weekly support group that's geared to the maintanence of a smoke-free lifestyle and communicating with others about the difficulty of keeping Mr. Cigarette at bay.

Our first class consisted of a hodge podge of topics, analagous to the various stretches a runner performs before taking her place at the starting line. Suzanne, our smoking cessation counselor, began our lesson with a story of a man who suffered from various illnesses and addictions, including tobacco dependence. Despite being rushed to the hospital by ambulance 12 times in 1 year, 8 times being put on life support and committed to the intensive care unit, this man continued to smoke. He suffered from heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes--all of which were excerbated by smoking. Once he was able to get out of the hospital bed, he would light up. This man used cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, but none of these were harder to quit than smoking. Once he finally quit smoking for good, his health improved dramatically. The workbook we're given at the beginning of the program includes a picture of this man with his medical records. The stack of records for the 5 years before he quit smoking was more than 3 times the height than the stack for the 5 years after he quit.

Smoking accelerates the aging of your lungs. The sooner you quit the sooner you can slow down the rapid aging brought on by smoking tobacco. Had this man decided to quit later, he most likely would have died within the year. Instead, he lived for another 11 years.
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About the Author


MA, MAppSci, PhD

Dr. Jonathan Foulds is an expert in the field of tobacco addiction.

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