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Health news and issues in the Ozarks.

Giving up Tobacco Can be Done, with a Little Help

Lindsay Fox

A common resolution as a new year begins is to quit smoking.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, seven out of 10 tobacco users say they want to quit.  But doing away with cigarettes can be difficult. 

Jim Brawner, community educator at CoxHealth and a nationally certified tobacco treatment specialist, said nicotine is addictive, and many smokers (nearly 90 percent) have been using cigarettes since before the age of 18.

"The priming in the brain and the nerve endings--those receptors get uploaded and overcome, and you build up a tolerance to it over time," he said.

It takes a reversal of that priming, over time, he said, with behavioral therapy, addiction therapy, pharmaceutical therapy and relapse prevention, for a person to quit smoking.

CoxHealth offers those services, according to Brawner, and it’s holding a four-week class beginning Wednesday night (1/9) for those who want to give up tobacco.

Topics include facts about smoking, why it’s difficult to quit, how to cope with urges and manage stress and the potential benefits from stopping tobacco use.

Brawner said the classes have a high success rate.  According to CoxHealth, the quit rate at completion of the classes is 77 percent.

"If you're going to go after this, you need to do it with a little coaching and some therapies, and it'll make the journey a little bit lighter than trying to go cold turkey," he said.

Registration is required for the class, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, January 9-30 at the CoxHealth Center for Health Improvement.  There is a $96 fee, which might be covered by insurance.  To register, (417) 269-3900.

Mercy Health System also offers help with smoking cessation.  Learn more here