State offering smokers more help in quitting the habit
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) The state is offering another treatment option for smokers who are trying to quit the habit.
The newest part of New Jersey's $8.7 million anti-smoking effort funded with money received in the national settlement with tobacco companies are dependency treatment clinics, which opened at several sites across the state in January.
The clinics provide free individual and group counseling, as well as access to both prescription and over-the-counter smoking cessation aides. The program helps longtime smokers, like Cindy Ford, 52, of Plainfield, put their addiction in perspective.
''When you're quitting smoking, you often feel that it's unbearable. The support helps,'' Ford told The Record of Bergen County for Monday's editions
When a smoker decides to enroll in a clinic, they first meet with a counselor.
''We try to get very detailed information about smoking patterns, triggers, and cravings and we try to tailor nicotine replacement products to their habits,'' said Donna Richardson, an addictions counselor with the clinic in New Brunswick operated by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
The counselor and smoker then craft a plan for quitting, detailing which supports gum, patches, pills a smoker needs to be successful.
After that, smokers attend group therapy once a week for six weeks. At the first meeting, the entire group sets a quit date of the morning before their next meeting.
Throughout the six weeks, the recovering smokers get blood pressure and weight checks and time to talk with other nicotine addicts and therapists about their struggles, Richardson said.
''We all have the same problems, and I think that was really helpful,'' said Ford, who has smoked for 30 years. ''We talked about what things we anticipate as being problems. We talked about why we wanted to quit.''