Monday, December 19, 2011


New smoking class to help people kick the habit

“If people are healthier, they are generally happier. If people are healthier, they are likely to be more productive. If people are both happy and productive, the economy will follow suit.” This is the opinion of Jeffrey Levi in a recent column in the Huffington Post.

I couldn’t agree more. It certainly seems logical — smoking leads to a wide range of complications that can lead to lost time at work.

But how do we begin the fundamental task of getting healthier? Here are some startling statistics:

We all know that smoking contributes to a multitude of health problems.

The state Department of Public Health issued a fact sheet entitled, “A Quick Look at Smoking In Connecticut” revealing some staggering statistics:

• More than 450,000 adults in Connecticut smoke cigarettes, which translates into 17% of adults — 18.9% of men and 15.2% of women, according to the state Department of Public Health.

• Even more startling is what we found in eastern Connecticut. A community health needs assessment telephone survey conducted by a national research firm on behalf of Backus revealed that nearly have of the region’s adults have smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime.

• Approximately 40% of those who answered the telephone survey are regular smokers.

Since 2012 is almost upon us, it’s the perfect time to make a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking once and for all.

Backus Hospital is sponsoring the highly successful American Lung Association smoking cessation program entitled, “Freedom From Smoking.”

Led by certified facilitator Annette McDonald, a Respiratory Therapist at Backus, the seven-week sessions start Tuesday, Jan. 10 and run until Feb. 24 (Week 4 is Quit Week so there is a second session that week on Thursday, Feb. 2). They are held at the Backus Outpatient Care Center on Salem Turnpike in Norwich from 6-8 p.m.

Participants must pay $50, but they receive the $50 back if they attend all eight sessions. We did this because our past experiences with smoking cessation classes show that if there is a monetary stake, the chances of completing the program are much higher. Any money that is not refunded goes toward the course materials for participants.

For more information, or to register for the program, call 860-889-8331, ext 6381.

Let’s all do our part to improve the economy — and our region’s health — by quitting smoking in 2012.

Alice Facente is a registered nurse and clinical educator at the The William W. Backus Hospital Education Department. This column should not replace advice or instruction from your personal physician. If you want to comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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