Health Watch: Most smokers want to quit but need 1:1 help

Tobacco use and/or smoking causes heart attacks, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, cancers (lung, oropharynx, bladder, blood, cervix, colon/rectal, etc.). Smoking also affects fertility, bone health, teeth and gums, cataracts, type II diabetes, and more.  Smokers experience a much higher risk of vascular disease than non-smokers. They are more likely to develop a life-threatening abdominal aortic aneurysm or experience hardening of the arteries of the intestines, kidneys or legs. Quitting smoking is the best way to lower your chances of suffering from vascular diseases.

SLUCare now offers a smoking cessation clinic.  The team includes a certified tobacco treatment specialist, trained in a variety of techniques to help you stop smoking successfully and live a healthier life. Rhonda Lebbing, who has years of experience working with patients as a vascular surgery nurse practitioner. She works with Dr. Matthew Smeds, a SLUCare vascular surgeon and Medical Director of this clinic. Both have been trained in smoking cessation through Mayo Clinic.

Quitting smoking offers many health benefits. In just one year of quitting, heart attack risk drops dramatically. Two to five years after quitting, heart attack risk equals that of a non-smoker; within five years, risk of oral and bladder cancers drops in half; within five to 10 years, risk of lung cancer is cut in half.

But quitting can be difficult. Research shows that nicotine is as addictive as heroin. In the U.S., more people are addicted to nicotine than any other drug.

Most smokers want to quit (seven out of 10 report want to quit completely). However, only three to six percent of quit attempts without assistance are successful long term. The most effective treatment is a combination of counseling and medications.

These appointments are offered on Tuesdays at University Club Tower and consist of determining what if any medications are needed, counseling, and behavior modification techniques. The first appointment is about 45 minutes with one to three more follow up appointments of about 35 minutes each.

For more information about quitting, click here or to make an appointment call (314) 977-6051.

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