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This Thursday, Join The “Great American Smoke-Out”

Are you a smoker who’s thinking about quitting? There’s no better day to start than Thursday.

That’s the day of the Great American Smoke-Out, a national event held every year by the American Cancer Society.

The Smoke-Out “encourages people who smoke or use tobacco to quit for 24 hours,” says Barbara Silver, the program manager for employee wellness at UNC Family Medicine and the Town of Chapel Hill. “And then if they’re successful, to quit for another 24 hours – and just do it one day at a time, as a prelude to being able to quit altogether.”

If you’re one of the 42 million Americans who smoke, and you’re looking to quit, UNC’s Nicotine Dependence Program is setting up booths around town on Thursday from 11 to 3 as part of the Great American Smoke-Out.

“We’ll have information tables at the (UNC) hospital outside of Starbucks (and) at UNC Family Medicine by the patient entrance,” Silver says. “And then CVS also has been partnering with us because they’re not selling tobacco anymore – (so) we’re going to have some pharmacy students helping us down there on Franklin Street.”

And if you can’t make it to the booths, there’s also a statewide quit line, 1-800-QUIT-NOW. You can call that number at any time – but if you call on Thursday, as part of the Great American Smoke-Out, you can receive even more support.

“If you call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, on Thursday, the Quit Line will give you eight weeks of free (nicotine) patches,” says Silver.

Silver says nicotine patches and other forms of medication can double your chances of quitting successfully.

It’s a hard road to quitting, and there may be stumbles along the way – but Silver says those stumbles are just “bumps on the road to progress.” And it is possible to quit – you just have to take it one day at a time.

Matt Englund of UNC Health Care has been smoke-free for a year.

“(I did it by) spreading out my cravings,” he says. “When you want a cigarette, you just take an extra 15 minutes and try to hold off – then try 30 minutes, then an hour, and eventually you train yourself to realize that you don’t – though you think you need it at that moment – you don’t need it at that moment…

“And work up to the moment when you can take a day. Take two days. Take a week. Do as much as you can – and keep trying until you’re successful.”

England and Silver joined Aaron Keck on WCHL this week.

 

The Great American Smoke-Out is held every year on the third Thursday in November. For more information, visit the American Cancer Society’s website, Cancer.org – and for more information on programs here in our area, visit the Nicotine Dependence Program’s page, NDP.UNC.edu.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/thursday-join-great-american-smoke/

UNC Study: NC Doctors Suggest E-Cigarettes to Quitting Smokers

UNC physicians have published a survey stating that more research must be done about the practice that physicians have taken of recommending electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, as a means of quitting smoking for patients.

The Associate Director for Tobacco Prevention and Evaluation Program at UNC and leading author on the study, Dr. Leah Ranney, gave a brief summary about the study.

“We did a study of North Carolina providers, and we asked physicians about their attitudes towards e-cigarettes,” she says.

The study, entitled “Physicians’ Attitudes and Use of E-Cigarettes as Cessation Devices,” analyzed 128 North Carolina physicians regarding their opinions of e-cigarettes. 67 percent of the physicians surveyed said that they believe substituting e-cigarettes for regular cigarettes is a helpful alternative, and 35 percent submitted that they do recommended their use to patients.

The study found that physicians were likely to suggest e-cigarettes when asked about it by their patients or when the physician concluded e-cigarettes were safer than the use of common cigarettes.

“Our research actually provides one of the first looks at how e-cigarettes are being used as tobacco cessation devices among physicians who treat adult patients,” says Dr. Ranney. “We also found that over two-thirds of physicians believe that e-cigarettes were a helpful aid for smoking cessation, and over one-third reported recommending these e-cigarettes to their patients.”

Despite the recommendations, physicians have been found to possess information about e-cigarette safety that is inconsistent; the survey demonstrated that 13% of physicians do not know that e-cigarettes are not FDA approved.

“As e-cigarettes become more popular, physicians are going to be called upon to engage in conversations with their patients about the safety of these products, as well as their utility for tobacco cessation,” says Dr. Ranney. “We believe that FDA should provide physicians with clear guidelines about e-cigarette use, including health impacts and their effectiveness as a tobacco cessation tool.”

Dr. Ranney says that there is more research coming out everyday about the facts of e-cigarettes that will hopefully allow physicians to better understand them and if they should continue to be recommended to patients that wish to stop smoking.

To read the study, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/unc-study-nc-doctors-suggest-e-cigarettes-quitting-smokers/

July 1 Brings Health Changes And Flooding

CHAPEL HILL – On the first of the month, Orange County faced two significant changes – more than five inches of water causing flood damage, along with the enforcement of the Smoke-Free Public Places Rule. WCHL’s Aaron Keck sat down with Dr. Colleen Bridger, the Director of the Orange County Health Department to discuss the Health Department’s role in both of the impacts of flooding and the smoking ban on Orange County residents.

After the devastating storm on Sunday, the Orange County Health Department sent two nurses to the Red Cross’ shelter that night.  Monday morning, the Health Department focused on restaurants and pools, restoring sanitation and safety, so they can re-open as quickly as possible.

“We have two primary roles,” says Bridger. “We provide nursing support to the Red Cross and the shelter. And then this morning the focus has been on the restaurants and pools that have been flooded. We have sent teams of restaurant inspectors to the areas that have been flooded to make sure the restaurant owners know how to clean up after a flood. Most of the pools have needed to be drained and refilled and start all over again.”

Monday, Orange County began enforcing the Smoke-Free Public Places Rule.

“It prohibits smoking indoors where the public is invited or allowed and outdoors in places that are either owned by Orange County or one of the municipalities that falls within Orange County,” says Bridger. “So for example, parks, sidewalks, bus stops, places like that.”

The Health Department is promoting this rule by posting signs inside and along the outside of about a dozen buses, on billboards, and in magazines. Bridger says mainly the Health Department is mainly focused on sharing ways and providing resources to quit smoking.

“We’re really trying to pair information about the fact that Orange County public places are smoke-free, but also, if you’re a smoker and you’d like to quit smoking, here are some resources for you to quit,” says Bridger.

Bridger hopes this rule will be practiced by the public, minimizing law enforcement. A citation costs a smoker $25, but she says the rule is mainly to encourage the public to quit smoking, not punishment.

“Essentially, we are hoping that this will be a grassroots enforcement process, where somebody next to somebody else smoking says, ‘Oh hey, did you hear that there’s a new rule. You’re not allowed to smoke here anymore,’” says Bridger. “We are really hoping to minimize any sort of law enforcement involvement in this process.”

She says the public showed a very positive response to the idea of the rule.

“We surveyed folks. We got 750 responses,” says Bridger. “Eighty-percent of those responses were, yes this is a good idea, please do it.”

Resources the Orange County Health Department provides include free nicotine replacement therapy for people involved in smoking cessation programs offered by the Health Department and the NC Quitline.

For any information on how to quit smoking, call the number for the Smoke-Free OC Hotline is (919)-245-2480.

To access the Orange County Health Department’s website, you can go to www.orangecountync.gov/health.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/july-1-brings-health-changes-and-flooding/

Health Advocates Oppose NC Senate Smoking Bill

RALEIGH – Health advocates say a North Carolina Senate bill would repeal hundreds of local and community college rules restricting smoking outdoors.

The Senate Environment Committee passed a bill Tuesday that prohibits local governments and community colleges from enacting smoking bans that are stricter than state law. Bill sponsor Sen. Buck Newton of Wilson said he appreciates public health progress made in the state since it passed restrictions in 2010, but he thinks a line should be set at outdoor settings.

Lawmakers from both parties expressed concerns about how the bill would overturn smoke-free campus laws and specially designated smoking areas. The North Carolina Health Alliance counts 249 local ordinances under threat by the law and most of the state’s community colleges.

The bill now goes heads to another committee for review.

 

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/health-advocates-oppose-nc-senate-smoking-bill/