You’re a tobacco user but you’re ready to quit. You do well for a couple of days, but then the cravings come, and stress lowers your strength to say no. You’ve been here before. You really want to quit but you just don’t know what to expect from attending a quit group. Will you be judged? Will you be shamed? If you attend a group with Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way group here is what you can expect: A huge congratulation for choosing to get healthy!
You are not alone in your journey to quit. Each year, approximately 70% of smokers indicate that they want to quit yet only 5%-7% are successful quitting on their own. We want to help! Tobacco users who seek help from Tobacco Free Florida programs can more than double their chances of successfully quitting tobacco compared to those that try on their own. Whether your main reason for quitting is related to health, money, family or social stigma; you are in the right place. When it comes to quitting, you must have a plan.
Group expectations: Will be clearly outlined by the facilitator.
Quit Date: You will be asked to set a quit date at a 2-hour group, ideally within the next 2 weeks. If you are attending a six week group, your quit day usually falls during or after sessions 2, 3, or 4. Your facilitator will explain that it is not uncommon for tobacco users to relapse, and it may take more than one quit attempt to be successful. If you relapse it does not mean defeat, use it as a learning experience and start a new quit attempt. Each attempt is not a failure! It is a step on your journey to becoming tobacco-free.
Group Size: An average group is anywhere from 2-18 participants. Participants often become allies and many form friendships to support each other during their quit journeys.
The Tone: Expected success is an important function for the facilitator to set as the group sessions begin. The end goal must rely on your determination to quit tobacco completely. Cutting down is not quitting.
Working through the workbook: You will be guided through the workbook (either group or session by session in the six-week group). We’ll discuss the impact of tobacco use, the different types of tobacco and the chemicals found in tobacco. We will continue the discussion on how tobacco affects your body, your oral health, and other health effects of tobacco use. We will identify second and third hand smoke and how it affects you and your surroundings, the effect of nicotine on the brain, and the cycle of a nicotine craving. Emphasis will be made on the benefits of quitting and what you can expect over the next ten years as a result.
Identifying Reasons you Smoke: The next step is to identify why you smoke because everyone’s reason is different. To set a quit plan, you need to identify why you smoke and your reasons to quit. We will dispel some myths and give you tips to help you manage stress and withdrawal. We will identify some creative and not so creative ways to trick your brain and create new healthy habits to replace tobacco use. You will be given tools to manage your triggers and help overcome both the physical and psychological addiction.
At the end of your group you will be given Nicotine Replacement Therapy (patches, gum, or lozenges) dosed off of your tobacco use (while supplies last and when medically appropriate). The first distribution will be a two-week supply. The facilitator will explain to you how to call to get your second distribution via mail. If you attend a six-week group, you can receive your Nicotine Replacement Therapy as early as your second session.
Remember, you are not alone in your journey to be tobacco-free. SRAHEC, Tobacco Free Florida, and other Area Health Education Centers throughout Florida are here to help!
|Ann-Marie is a Tobacco Treatment & Systems change specialist with SRAHEC. She is a trained Tobacco Cessation Specialist and certified by NAADAC.org.