Beaufort Memorial Hospital offers Freedom from Smoking Program

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For years, Patty Griswold’s mother had nagged her to quit smoking.

“I tried several times using nicotine patches and gum,” said Griswold, who smoked her first cigarette at the age of 21. “The longest I ever went was three months.”

Freedom from Smoking logoA registered nurse, the 65-year-old Beaufort resident was well aware of the health risks associated with smoking. But it wasn’t until her mother died of lung cancer that she found the motivation to break the habit.

“A few weeks before my mother passed away, she asked me to quit smoking,” Griswold recalled. “I promised her I would.”

Realizing she would need help kicking her pack-a-day addiction, Griswold signed up for the Freedom from Smoking program offered by Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s LifeFit Wellness Services.

Developed by the American Lung Association and considered the “gold standard” in smoking cessation programs, Freedom from Smoking offers participants the best chance of giving up cigarettes for good.

Griswold took the class three years ago. She hasn’t smoked since.

“I had my last cigarette at 4:30 p.m. May 18, 2010,” Griswold said. “It was a great decision. Food tastes better, it saves me money and I can wear perfume again.”

And more importantly, her heart is healthy. Last week, her BMH cardiologist, Dr. Shannon Shook, gave her a clean bill of health.

“I was so worried because I have a family history of heart disease and I had abused my body by smoking,” Griswold said. “I know it wouldn’t have been a good checkup if I hadn’t quit smoking.”

She attributes her success this time around to the support she received in the Freedom from Smoking program.

“It helped me immensely,” Griswold said. “Having that support made a big difference.”

LifeFit will be offering a new session of smoking cessation classes Monday evenings from April 22 through June 3 at Beaufort Memorial Women’s Imaging Center,  989 Ribaut Rd. Classes take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (No class on Memorial Day.) An extra support session is offered May 15 — two days after “quit day” — to help ensure participants don’t break down and light up.

“Smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease,” said Mark Senn, senior director of LifeFit Wellness Services. “Here’s a way to quit the habit and improve your health.”

In the first three classes, taught by a certified Freedom from Smoking instructor, participants will examine their own patterns of smoking, learn how to handle triggers and urges and receive training on stress management techniques that can help them get through the quitting process and life after cigarettes.

During the eight-class program, they’ll watch several DVDs and receive a Freedom from Smoking workbook, a relaxation CD and various helpful handouts.

The cost for the course is $30. Class size is limited, so reservations are required. To register, call 843-522-5570.