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NEWS | Nov. 20, 2018

Army Wellness Center: Informing, stopping tobacco use on Fort Campbell

By Jodi Camp Fort Campbell Courier

Staff Sergeant Gabrielle Farris, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division talks to Levi Scheeter, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, about some of her cigarette smoking triggers and different ways to avoid reaching for a cigarette, during the Ready to Quit class, Tuesday, at the Army Wellness Center, 5662 Screaming Eagle Blvd. Jodi Camp | Fort Campbell Courier


Today is the 43rd Annual Great American Smokeout hosted by the American Cancer Society, which encourages tobacco users to stop using cigarettes and dip.

According to the American Cancer Society website, 38 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. Smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and illness worldwide.

Although the dangers of tobacco use are well-documented, people will not stop using tobacco until they feel they are ready to, said Levi Scheeter, preventive medicine, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital.

“Education to stopping tobacco is not the key, the key is getting people motivated to get the desire to quite tobacco,” Scheeter said.

Farris came to the wellness center to attend a Ready to Quit information session, offered at noon every Tuesday. Ready to Quit offers tobacco users a way to determine if they are ready to be tobacco free. During the meeting participants learn how to determine their tobacco use triggers and how to avoid them.

The human body can rid itself of nicotine in four days and after that a tobacco user will no longer have physical cravings for nicotine – the mental craving last much longer, so identifying triggers, is important, Scheeter said. For example one of the triggers for tobacco use can be at work, because smokers typically have a smoking buddy at work who may prove to be a temptation.

Once a tobacco users has attended Ready to Quit and is ready to quit, he or she may attend a four-week Tobacco Cessation program that is offered at noon on Wednesdays at the Army Wellness Center. A new cohort of tobacco users begin the program the beginning of each month.

Farris has been smoking on and off since 2012. She quit while she was pregnant with her son, but started back up again soon after he was born.

Farris and her boyfriend, who is stationed in Florida, have decided to quit smoking together.

“I found somebody who I want to spend loads of time with and build my Family,” Farris said. Farris has decided to quit cold turkey. She and her boyfriend had two cigarettes left and they smoked those Monday. They do not plan on buying any more.

“I was like ‘let’s smoke these last ones and we will be done’,” Farris said.

Although Farris knows quitting smoking is possible, she is unsure how things will work out this time.

“I think it will be harder this time because I am alone. It is just me and my kids,” Farris said.

The reality, Scheeter said, is that tobacco users who wish to quit have to find a way to beat the urge to use tobacco by finding other ways to cope without nicotine.

Medications to ease the symptoms nicotine withdrawal are available for free to Soldiers including patches, gum and prescription drugs. While medications are useful, a support system also is vital when trying to kick a tobacco habit.

Farris and her boyfriend will support each other through the process of quitting long distance with telephone calls.

“We both have the same goal in life, we both want a Family,” Farris said. “We can lean on each other and push each other.”

For more information about tobacco cessation support, call Army Wellness Center at 270-461-3451.

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