JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Smokers gathered for a Great American Smokeout class Nov. 15, 2012, at the Health and Wellness Center here.
The GASO is the American Cancer Society’s nationally recognized day designed to encourage smokers to quit using tobacco for a 24-hour period and ultimately lead to quitting altogether.
Attendees learned about the benefits, reasons and methods for quitting smoking. Dr. Douglas J. Cohen, Pulmonary and Sleep Physicians of South Jersey physician, led the class and has treated many tobacco-related illnesses.
The chance of succeeding in quitting the first time one attempts to quit is only about 7 percent. The main obstacles to overcome when quitting are undesirable withdrawal symptoms, social queues and lack of a plan, said Cohen.
Cohen taught the class about several different methods and drugs to help them quit including substitution, drugs which block nicotine receptors, electronic cigarettes and nicotine patches. Cohen then asked attendees to share their experiences with quitting.
Cohen listened to each person’s individual trials and tribulations before offering personalized advice and reassurance in their quitting efforts.
Senior Airman Patrick Fletcher, 819th Global Support Squadron aerial transporter, elaborated on his experiences.
“I started smoking when I was 14,” said Fletcher, a Wattsburg, Pa., native. “My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles all smoked so it didn’t feel unnatural when I began. Along the way I realized smoking was expensive, produced a foul smell and led to physical health detriments. I failed to quit in the past because I experienced massive headaches and boredom whenever I tried to stop, but this won’t keep me from continuing to try.”
The HAWC provides cessation advice to Department of Defense ID card holders. The joint base offers programs such as GASO to encourage service members, families and retirees to give up the destructive habit.
Fletcher said, “The best advice I can offer to quit smoking is don’t ever start.”