No longer is the Marlboro Man a Great American Hero.
Likewise, Joe Camel’s popular appeal has been effectively extinguished.
A new smoking cessation program at Lake District Hospital is available to help those embarking upon the monumentally challenging task of quitting smoking.
Respiratory Therapist and Pulmonary Rehab Specialist Theresa Conklin is leading the five-week program, for which the next session will start on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
The hardest part of cigarette smoking is quitting; just ask a current participant in the program, Richard Savage.
Savage is an admitted long-term smoker of more than 40 years and can attest to the difficulty of breaking this unhealthy habit.
Savage said that he’d wanted to quit the habit for years, but struggled each time in doing so.
“I’d had a number of health issues and tried to quit over the years,” he said.
Savage’s health history included being the recipient of a quadruple bypass in the past, as well as diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure.
“It was clear to me that this thing was controlling me,” Savage said.
Previously a resident of Eugene, which stands about 450 feet above sea level, Savage also felt the impacts of Lakeview’s considerably higher elevation at 4,800 feet.
Living in the Tallest Town in Oregon, with considerably thinner air, respectively, proved to exacerbate his respiratory woes.
Savage noted that the culture around smoking has changed since his younger years, as the habit was previously more socially acceptable.
He attributed that along with a high-stress working environment in human services as a contributing factor to his habit as a go-to point of stress relief.
Savage said he could not physically tolerate tobacco patches, and soon he discovered quitting was easier said than done.
“This stuff is pretty intense,” he said, “when you are talking about an addiction.”
As the bills began to rapidly accumulate, he had a very green visual for the actual cost savings with giving up smoking.
In participating in the hospital’s program, Savage said that it reinforces the positives with improving one’s health. As a result, he said he’s felt the positive affects to his own health already.
“I feel better,” he said. “There’s no question I breathe better. I sleep better. I walk faster. I can only accredit it to not smoking.”
Conklin said the initial offering drew in three participants, and the five-series is available for a nominal fee of $5.
“People are more likely to come to class if they’re invested in it,” she said, noting that the fee was minimized for the sake of affordability. “There’s no quick fix. You have to really want to quit smoking. If you want to quit smoking, we have the tools for you.”
For more information on the program, contact Lake District Hospital Respiratory Therapist Theresa Conklin at 541-947-2114, ext. 322.