BY RYAN WELLICOME
The smoking cessation program QuitCore will be returning to Lacombe this month at the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre offering locals the opportunity to quit tobacco.
The free six-week workshop will be led by trained cessation professionals – partnered with Wolf Creek Primary Care Network –and will help teach tobacco users to develop a plan to quit, in addition to support and strategies to make the change permanent.
“The best thing a person can do for their health is to quit using tobacco if they do use it currently,” said Program Facilitator Heather Mielke. “The program is for people looking to quit using tobacco, maybe just looking to reduce their use or maybe they already quit somewhat recently and are wanting some support to maintain that change.”
The program offers strategies for participants to formulate a plan, address recovery symptoms, manage stress and – perhaps most importantly – prevent a relapse in a group environment.
Mielke said the supportive nature of a group environment is one of the most important aspects. “If you talk to anybody that smokes or uses tobacco, a large number of them will identify that they do what to quit, but I think they need help in order to do so. Being in a group of people that are going through something similar to you always helps. We are social by nature so I think being in a group is often better.”
Another important part is the action plan. Mielke said creating a specific plan to address stress, triggers and unhelpful situations can be the difference between successfully quitting and relapsing.
“If you have a plan in place it makes it so much easier to follow through with it than being more vague and one day hoping to quit,” she said.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) support is a new service being offered by the QuitCore program.
According to Mielke, funding for NRT can be accessed if participants commit to the full six-week QuitCore program.
In such a case, following the end of the program, participants could receive a pre-loaded Alberta Blue Cross card that can be used at a pharmacist to acquire whichever form of NRT a participant chooses.
NRT is a medically-approved way of taking nicotine by means other than tobacco. Forms of NRT include, nicotine patches, chewing gum, lozenges, nasal spray, or inhalers.
Alberta Health Services also offers support services for tobacco users online, by telephone or through one on one counselling.
According to Alberta Health Services literature, “Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and premature death in Alberta, causing over 3,000 deaths every year across the province.”
The QuitCore program runs on Monday evenings from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 12th in the Education Room at the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre. Registration can be completed online at www.albertaquits.ca or by calling toll-free 1-866-710-QUIT (7848).