Friday, March 22, 2013

Smoking is associated with a plethora of health issues and debilitating diseases.  Those who smoke are more prone to develop many types of cardiovascular disease, oral health problems, decreased bone density, infertility, cancers, and more.  In an effort to provide holistic care to patients, CVIM offers an incredibly successful smoking cessation program to all those patients who are willing to participate.  The CVIM program, in effect for almost 10 years, has surpassed both County and national cessation success rates.

In 2004, the CVIM smoking cessation program was established with tobacco settlement funds which were administered through state and County health departments.  Since then, the program has expanded and developed into the notable structure it maintains today.  During initial medical consultations, nurses and physicians identify smoking patients.  The physician discusses the patient’s smoking behavior with them, asking how they feel about quitting and modifying their behavior.  If the patient shows a sincere interest in leaving the habit behind, the physician schedules a one-on-one counseling appointment with a volunteer smoking cessation counselor, and the process to become smoke-free begins.  If a patient chooses to enroll in the smoking cessation program after their initial counseling session, an individual plan is developed and the patient typically has one-on-one counseling sessions twice monthly with touch-base visits in between.

CVIM believes that clinics are ideally suited to increase the rate of cessation amongst smokers.  CVIM believes there are three keys to success that clinics are particularly capable of providing.  First, brief touch-base interventions work and can be applied repeatedly to all smokers, regardless of the intensity of their motivation to quit.  Secondly, counseling is critical.  CVIM is fortunate to have volunteer counselors who can give each patient the time and attention they need to maintain their motivation.  Finally, when appropriate CVIM believes medications in addition to the counseling will increase the patient cessation rate.  90% of smoking cessation program participants are on some type of nicotine replacement.

These factors together make the smoking cessation program at CVIM remarkably successful.  In the last year, 165 identified patient smokers participated in some form in the smoking cessation program.  They received touch-base counseling, passionate advocates, and the benefits of a program with a cessation rate above the national average.  Without community and volunteer support and patients dedicated to following the track to better health, the smoking cessation program would not see the great success it has up to this point.