Smokers get help quitting

Published 4:26 pm Monday, February 16, 2015

Cigarette smokers who want to quit but don’t know how to go about it have some help coming soon.

Another session of the American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking class is coming up in partnership with the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community.

Leading the class is Sandra Sullivan, who smoked for 45 years before she quit with the help of a similar class. She has been leading the classes with the partnership for about two years now.

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Sullivan said the class works better than people trying to quit on their own, because they can help and encourage one another.

“The group effort is phenomenal,” she said. “They help each other. That’s why I can’t do it with just one person.”

The class starts March 3 and will be held each Tuesday for seven weeks, except for the “quit week,” which includes two sessions for extra support. It will meet at 6 p.m. at the Constantia House behind R.W. Baker Funeral Home, 509 W. Washington St.

Free to participants, the class includes a workbook and relaxation CD.

“No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to quit,” Sullivan said, noting one of her former students was about 80.

Participants are allowed to use patches and medications, but not electronic cigarettes.

“You don’t know the long-term effects” of electronic cigarettes, Sullivan noted.

For 40-year smoker Mac Scott, all it took was sheer willpower and a lot of cinnamon sticks to help him quit during one of Sullivan’s former sessions.

“I tried quitting on my own on several occasions,” he said. “I had tried the patches. They irritated me. I tried acupuncture; it didn’t do nothing.”

What finally made the difference?

“I think it was mind over matter,” he said. “I had to make up my mind. I’m married. I have grandkids and a daughter I want to live for. I want to be there for all of their activities. I have some good reasons for wanting to stop, and for myself, it’s good health.

Scott said quitting was “by no means easy,” but the tools he got from Sullivan’s class were helpful.

“There were some things I never realized, ways you can overcome those obstacles,” Scott said. “It’s been a ride, but it’s been a good one.”

People should call 539-1525 to sign up for the class. If there is enough interest, a list for another session will start.