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Monongahela Valley Hospital Helps Smokers Kick the Habit

Facts About Smoking and Tobacco Usage

The medical professionals at Monongahela Valley Hospital have compiled the following facts and statistics about smoking and the use of tobacco products.

  • Tobacco is an addictive drug just like crack and heroin.
  • Approximately 90 percent of smokers begin by the age of 20; and 60 percent begin by age 14.
  • About 1 million teens start to smoke each year in the United States.
  • Tobacco kills more Americans each year than alcohol, cocaine, crack, heroin, homicide, suicide, car accidents, fires and AIDS combined.
  • Approximately 418,000 Americans die each year from smoking related illness.
  • Approximately 53,000 American non-smokers die each year from secondhand smoke.
  • Lung cancer is the number 1 cause of female cancer deaths, surpassing breast cancer, even though lung cancer is almost completely preventable.
  • Female smokers get menopause earlier and have higher rates of osteoporosis than non smokers.
  • Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in healthy nonsmokers and causes breathing problems and ear infections in children who are around smoke.
  • Smoking causes oropharyngeal, bladder, pancreas and colon cancers.
  • Young people who haven’t experimented with tobacco by the age of 18 will probably never start.
  • Chewing tobacco or snuff are as of, or more addictive than cigarettes.
  • An injection of 1 drop of nicotine in its purest form will kill an average size man.
  • Sugar and other sweeteners are often added to spit tobacco so that the flavor is more appealing.
  • Tobacco in any form will cause receding gum lines and cavities.
  • Spit tobacco causes mouth cancers.
  • Early signs of mouth cancer may occur after just a few years of using spit tobacco.
(June 4, 2013 - Carroll Township, Pa.)

Anyone who has ever tried to quit smoking knows the great challenge smokers face. But, as Mark Twain said, "It's not the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog." If you are struggling with an addiction to smoking or tobacco products, such as snuff or chew, Monongahela Valley Hospital can help. MVH provides informational links at its website, offers smoking/tobacco cessation classes, and the physicians affiliated with the hospital can prescribe medications and/or recommend over-the-counter aids to help in the cessation process.

If today is the day that you or a loved one has decided to quit using tobacco products, MVH's website is a valuable resource. Visit the "Smoking Cessation" page on our website. The site lists local and national organizations, such as Washington County Health Partners and the American Lung Association who provide smoking/tobacco cessation information and materials. MVH's website also provides facts and education to help visitors make informed decisions related to their health and well-being. In addition, for those who need a primary care physician to help guide the cessation process, MVH's website includes a "Find a Physician" link. Simply use the drop-down menu to indicate a specialty such as "Family Practice," and the names and office locations of many doctors are listed. People who do not have access to a computer can call the hospital's Physician Referral Line at 724-258-4377.

"Smokers and tobacco users often make a New Year's resolutions that they are going to quit," said Donna Hatalowich, MVH's community health educator who oversees the smoking cessation program. "Their chances of success are greater when they participate in formal smoking/tobacco cessation program. Even though it's already June, it's not too late to keep that 2013 resolution and try to quit the habit again."

When she conducts MVH's smoking cessation classes, Mrs. Hatalowich warns of the dangers of secondhand smoke. "As parents and grandparents, we go to great measures to protect our children and create safe environments. From the vehicles that we drive that are equipped with multiple airbags to choosing fresh fruits and vegetables, we want to contribute to the health and wellness of our loved ones, yet many people still smoke around children and their loved ones."

Secondhand smoke, which is also known as passive smoke or environmental tobacco smoke, is a mixture of the smoke that comes from burning tobacco and the smoke exhaled by the smoker. Because the smoke from a burning cigarette is unfiltered, it contains twice as much tar and nicotine as the smoke inhaled by through a filter. Secondhand smoke is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a Group A carcinogen. The Group A designation is reserved for substances proven to cause cancer in humans.

MVH's smoking cessation program is presented as a community outreach program by the hospital. The program is a straight-forward, no nonsense quit-smoking program offered at convenient times. Classes are two hours long and participants must attend all four sessions to complete the course. It features all the elements necessary to help individuals stop smoking and quit craving tobacco products. Sessions emphasize common sense regulation of the two most difficult obstacles for persons who quit smoking —- the fear of gaining weight and stress management.

According to Mrs. Hatalowich, former smokers who have participated in the program have said that quitting smoking was one of the best things they have ever done. They said they feel a greater sense of control, more stamina and easier breathing when walking or exercising. They have fewer colds and flu and have greatly reduced their risk of coronary heart disease and cancer.

"Our program contains all the elements to help individuals stop smoking and lose the craving for tobacco," said, Mrs. Hatalowich. "Most smokers have thought about quitting but are waiting for the 'right time.' They needn't wait any longer."

In addition to offering strategies and plans for conquering the smoking habit, the SmokeStoppers classes also feature interaction with other individuals who are attempting to quit. Some of the guest instructors for the course are former smokers who offer understanding and support to those who are trying to stop. By bringing together people who want to quit, there is a common bond in which they can offer each other the same kind of support.

The next classes will begin on Tuesday, July 2 and be held July 9, 16 and 23. For additional information about the program, call Monongahela Valley Hospital's Community Relations Department at 724-258-1234.

The medical professionals at MVH have gathered some interesting facts and articles about smoking:

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