ON THE JOB: Madi Tweedie
Q: Nov. 15 is the Great American Smoke Out. What does that mean for those who smoke?
A: The American Cancer Society puts that day out ahead of time so you can plan in advance for that to be your quit day. This is the 37th year. We hope you quit nicotine completely - pipes, cigars, cigarettes - whatever tobacco you use.
Q: What are some immediate improvements you see when patients quit?
A: The physical improvements begin 20 minutes after you stop smoking and include your blood pressure and heart rate dropping to the level close to that before your last cigarette, and the temperature in your hands and feet returning to normal.
Q: Over time, what improvements do your patients see?
A: Risks of cancer start going down immediately, but ten years after a smoker quits, the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases. The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker.
Q: What are some ways to quit?
A: One way that works for one person isn’t going to work for everybody, so we use three methods from the American Cancer Society: cold turkey, tapering, and postponing, where smokers delay the time between cigarettes. All three work great, it just depends on the type of person.
Q: What are some activities that “replace” smoking?
A: Some suggestions are: nibble on low-calorie snacks like celery and carrots sticks, suck on cinnamon, which is a natural deterrent, chew gum or stretch out meals. After dinner, instead of a cigarette, try a mint or a cup of tea with honey. Change the pattern of how you associate your everyday life and tasks with cigarettes. You’ve got to change that pattern to change the behavior.
Q: How can a smoker get help with quitting?
A: Tobacco kills 1 out of 5 Texans; it’s more deadly than illicit drugs, alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, suicide, homicide and fires combined. Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. Call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.greatamericansmokeout.org. They’re a fantastic resource and always able to help anybody who needs it. We have been providing free classes since 2005. Our classes (at Memorial Hermann Northeast) are free every Tuesday night after work. We host four, one-hour sessions. Call 281-540-7851 for details.
About Madi Tweedie:
COMPANY: Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital in Humble
EXPERIENCE: Certified Fresh Start Facilitator through the American Cancer Society
EDUCATION: Registered Respiratory Therapist and Respiratory Care Practitioner
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