By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chad A. Bascom, Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - Naval Medical Center San Diego’s (NMCSD) Health and Wellness Department offers a Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program to help tobacco users kick the habit. The program is free of charge and is open to all eligible beneficiaries on a walk-in basis.
Cigarette smoking accounts for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
NMCSD’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program helps prevent current tobacco users and potential users from taking that first puff, dip, or chew, while increasing awareness of the products and resources available to aid in reducing tobacco dependency.
NMCSD, its outlying Branch Health Clinics and TRICARE Outpatient Clinics offer beneficiaries four ways to kick the habit and learn how to cope with the difficulties of tobacco cessation.
One-on-one counseling with a Tobacco Cessation counselor, a two-session behavioral modification education class, a Cardiology Clinic which is led by a physician in a group format that is held weekly and a 90-day program of pharmaceutical intervention that consists of group support and the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
NMCSD had a 33% success rate during the first six months of fiscal year 2012. Out of 115 patients enrolled in the class, 38 patients were tobacco-free for more than a year.
“As a tobacco cessation instructor I give people the knowledge, support and resources to help them make the life changes to lead a healthier life style. When patients [and other students] come back to me with the news that they were successful, I feel very grateful that I was a part of their decision to become healthier,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Karen Dainwood, tobacco cessation instructor.
Religious Programs Specialist 2nd Class Jennifer Louviere, material maintenance supply clerk, NMCSD and student in the program, expressed her regret of ever lighting a cigarette in the first place.
“Starting smoking was the stupidest decision I’ve ever made,” said Louviere. “I started when I was 19 because everyone else smoked where I worked. I would get sick because of the smell and thought if I started [smoking] I wouldn’t smell it anymore and would quit getting sick. It worked.”
Louviere shared her reasons for deciding to kick the habit.
“Smoking was not helping my situation. It was actually hindering my medical progress, so I went to Health and Wellness for help. I was already using Wellbutrin which helped curb my liking for cigarettes,” said Louviere. “I had handouts that I hung up on my wall that said, ‘Would you smoke the tailpipe of your humvee?’ They really made me think and led me to quitting. NMCSD’s group classes provided me with tools I could use at work and home. Now I think smoking should be banned from the planet.”
NMCSD’s Health & Wellness Promotion Program is working to change the culture of acceptance of tobacco use to one where tobacco use is no longer the norm. The goal is to reduce tobacco use and improve the health and well-being of the Department of Defense (DoD) family as per OPNAVINST 6100.2a, DoD’s policy to provide tobacco users with encouragement and professional assistance to quit.
For more information on NMCSD’s tobacco cessation program call (619) 532-6576 or visit the NMCSD Cardiology Walk-in Clinic in building three, third floor, Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Call 619-532-7400 for further assistance.
For more news from Naval Medical Center San Diego, visit www.navy.mil/local/sd/, www.facebook.com/NMCSD, or http://twitter.com/NMC_SD.