By Tiffany Crouse
33,390 people have died from smoking between 2008 and 2012, according to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for Urban Initiatives and Research.
May is smoking cessation awareness month in Wisconsin.
Milwaukee kicked off the month with speeches about quitting from Commissioner Bevan Baker, from the City Health Department; Deputy Chief Aron Lipski, from the City Fire Department; and personal testimonies from quitters.
Most know what smoking can do to their bodies, minds, and appearance. What they don’t always hear about is the affect that smoking has on those around us.
“Tobacco-related medical expenses cost Wisconsin residents $3 billion dollars annually and more than 7,000 deaths are associated with tobacco use each year statewide.
This month, we urge smokers to talk to their health care providers about resources available to help them take a step toward quitting successfully,” said Baker.
Not only can smoking cause major health problems but it costs the smoker and the state money.
In Wisconsin more than 800,000 people smoke. Milwaukee wants people to know what their quitting options are.
People with support are more likely to quit and not pick up another cigarette again than those without, according to Lt. William Paulin, Director of Community Relations at the Milwaukee Fire Department.
To help yourself or a loved kick this habit is indeed a task.
There are many online resources to help people quit smoking: Quitterscircle.com, Smokefree.gov, and Quit.com, to name a few.
If you need in-person support right in Milwaukee there are programs to help you.
Froedtert Medical College of Wisconsin has a three-pronged Smoking Cessation Program.
“Smoking is a chronic illness that involves both a physical addiction and a powerful emotional addiction.
To quit, both types of addictions as well as other issues need to be addressed” said Ileen Gilbert, Medical College of
Wisconsin pulmonologist and obstructive lung diseases specialist.
Froedtert’s program is based around smoking as a chronic illness.
The program starts by educating participants about cigarettes and the consequences of smoking.
Then, the program focuses on the mental aspect of smoking and working with the smoker to identify why the need to smoke exists.
The Cessation Program ends with medical treatment of the smoking addiction.
This includes treatment to damaged lungs, assessing lung function, as well as the use of nicotine replacement therapies.
“Many smokers don’t realize that they may have emphysema or chronic bronchitis, the two forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.
A person could lose some lung function and not have any symptoms. By the time symptoms appear, the person could lose half of his or her lung function. We measure lung function to let people know if they have any damage from smoking,” said Dr. Gilbert.
This program started in 2005 and may be covered by your insurance. If you are trying to quit, the best way to do it is with support.
“Smokers who try to quit by themselves … have a 5 percent overall quit rate,” said Dr. Gilbert.
“It’s Quittin’ Time Wisconsin” is May’s slogan in Wisconsin.
For more information on Froedtert’s Cessation Program go to: http://www.froedtert.com/lung-cancer/patient-support/smoking-cessation.