Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

Start a new chapter in 2018: Quit smoking

Posted: Thursday, January 18, 2018

It’s a new year. Are you ready for a new chapter? If quitting smoking is a positive change you’d like to make in your life, Parkview Huntington Hospital can help you make it happen with the Freedom From Smoking® course.

Roanoke-area resident Max Byrd had smoked for 44 years before he came to the Freedom from Smoking course at the hospital last year. Conquering a habit so firmly entrenched would take a lot of determination, but he had decided he was serious about it.

“The course gave me the strength to know that I can defeat something on my own,” says Byrd. “Well, not completely on my own, because there were others involved. And when people in the class talked about their experience, I thought, ‘I’m not the only one going through the struggle.’”

Byrd says he attempted to quit many times over the years, trying lozenges, gum and even hypnotherapy. But, he admits, he hadn’t been ready until he went to the class. “You’ve just got to be determined to quit,” he says. “It won’t be easy. It’s a struggle every day.”

For Byrd, as for many people who have smoked for decades, it’s the constant nature of the habit that presents the biggest challenge in quitting, and he picked up a helpful trick in the course: “Even today, when I see somebody smoking, I want to go have a cigarette, but I don’t. One of the things that worked for me was cutting a straw to the length of a cigarette. So when I would have the urge, I would grab that straw and inhale. At least it was clean air! It sounds goofy, but it gave my hand and mouth something to do.”

Now retired after 40 years with American Electric Power, Byrd says he has important reasons to remain a non-smoker. “I’m 65,” he says. “I’ve got great-grandchildren, and they seem to keep multiplying, so I had to quit smoking so I can be around for them. I did a lot of fixing things on the job all those years, and now the grandchildren bring me things to fix. It looks like that’s my new job!”

The next Freedom from Smoking course at the hospital begins Monday, January 29, in the boardroom on the lower level. The free course meets eight times in seven weeks twice for extra support during “quit week,” from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and features: Education in stress management, weight control, assertive communication skills, exercise and nicotine replacement therapy A step-by-step method for changing behavior and quitting smoking; Group approach using positive thinking, alternative behaviors, one-on-one help, and rewards; American Lung Association Freedom from Smoking workbook and relaxation CD. Shelby Sheets, RN, cardiopulmonary rehab coordinator, is the hospital’s certified facilitator for the course. She helps each smoker develop a personal, long-term Freedom from Smoking plan.

Space is limited to 15 participants. On completion of the course, each person receives a free one-month membership to the Adult Fitness Center, located at Parkview Huntington Hospital, 2001 Stults Road. To register for the January 29 to March 12 course, or for more information, call (260) 355-3209. Arrangements can also be made for on-site courses at local companies.