Seven out of ten adults in the United States want to quit tobacco, but very few are successful on their first try. Most smokers try to quit 5 to 7 times before they are successful. The key is to keep trying and to learn from every quit attempt. Think of every past attempt as a practice run. With each try, you learned what worked to help you quit and what you can now do differently to stay tobacco free. People who use behavioral counseling increase their chances of quitting and staying quit. For best results, YOU must be READY to quit. Your next quit attempt can be your last one if you make lifestyle changes to become a nonsmoker. The Louisiana Tobacco Control Initiative (LA-TCI) gives you support, tools and medications to HELP you to quit for good.
Do you know why you smoke? Everyone says that using tobacco is bad for you but no one tells you how to quit. The LA-TCI offers behavioral counseling in both group and private settings. We provide a judgement free, supportive space as you explore your tobacco history. In every counseling session, the LA-TCI staff will discuss:
Tobacco triggers and coping tools
Healthy choices and lifestyle changes
Slips and relapses
Tobacco withdrawals and long-term support
The LA-TCI staff will give you a self-help book as a map for this assisted quit attempt. You will receive handouts and tips to help you quit. In the group settings, other tobacco users may share details of his or her previous quit attempt, which you may find helpful. Information learned in behavioral counseling sessions can give you the confidence you need to quit.
Counseling and/or medication CAN help you quit. The LA-TCI can help you get prescriptions for cessation medication from your doctor. The cost of the medication varies. The LA-TCI can refer Louisiana residents who began smoking before September 1, 1988, to the Smoking Cessation Trust (SCT), a program that provides cessation benefits, including medication coverage. For those who do not qualify for SCT, reduced cost medication may be available through facility pharmacies.
I have made long lasting friendships in my 14 years as a Tobacco Treatment Specialist. When I see people who have completed the program, many will thank me for their tobacco free life. I always remind them that I gave them the information – they did all the hard work. As much as I love hearing from someone who has been tobacco free for years, I also like hearing from someone who has relapsed because calling the program again means it helped in the past. Addiction is a journey and there are many obstacles along the way.
Let the LA-TCI help you move some of the obstacles out of your way to have a tobacco free life.
Deborah (Debby) Durapau
Nationally Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Our Lady of the Angels, Bogalusa, LA
Lallie Kemp Regional Medical Center, Independence, LA