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Smoking Cessation Nurse: NRH

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This Week’s Topic: Smoking Cessation Nurse:NRH

by Mike Lee, Staff Writer

Already out of most businesses and public places, new evidence suggests smoking is now being forced out of the home. Nearly three out of four U.S. households do not allow smoking anywhere and any time in the home, according to a study in a recent issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In her current role as Norman Regional Medical Center's smoking cessation nurse, Jerry Deming, RN, says she has seen firsthand that more and more people are wanting to quit. "It doesn't surprise me," Deming says of the study. "I have a lot of people here interested in quiting smoking; I keep really busy. I see usually around 12 and 25 patients each and every day."

The study, which uses data from the Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey, finds that the proportion of U.S. households with smoke-free home rules increased from 43 percent in 1992-1993 to 72 percent in 2003.

The proportion of households with smoke-free home rules also increased in every state over this period. This proportion varied widely among the states. Kentucky had the lowest and Utah had the highest proportion of households reporting smoke-free home rules for both reported periods. The proportion of smoke-free homes increased from 25.7 percent to 53.4 percent in Kentucky and from 69.6 percent to 88.8 percent in Utah. Oklahomas percentage nearly doubled to 64.7 percent in that frame.

A second MWMR article analyzed data on students aged 13-15 in 137 countries and territories drawn from a school-based survey called the Global Youth Tobacco Survey. Almost half of the students surveyed who have never smoked reported being exposed to secondhand smoke at home (47 percent) or in places other than the home (48 percent). The analysis also found that students who were exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to begin smoking.

On May 31, many countries observed World No Tobacco Day - an annual event sponsored by the World Health Organization to help raise public awareness about the dangers of tobacco use. This year’s theme was smoke-free environments.

Last June, the Surgeon General’s Report on the Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke concluded secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults, and that there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure. According to the Surgeon General’s report, nearly 60 percent of U.S. children aged 3-11 years - or almost 22 million children - are exposed to secondhand smoke.

NRH recently won a Special Business Award for Excellence in Public Health for its Inpatient Tobacco Cessation Program. This award recognizes those innovative programs that impact public health.

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S; one in four adults in Oklahoma use tobacco. The Norman Regional Health System In-patient Tobacco Cessation program was launched under the direction of Dr. Thomas Kuhls in 2004 to encourage patients who used tobacco to quit.

Today, the program is directed by Dr. James Silman who worked with tobacco cessation programs at the Cleveland and McClain County Health Departments, as well as the American Heart and Lung Associations. Amber Browning, RN, Manager of Health Promotion and Education at the Health System manages the day to day operations and data collection of the program. Health Promotion Specialists at the hospital have visited and offered intervention to over 8,000 tobacco users. Materials and support are given to both the patient and his or her family. Patients are also given a coupon to attend, for free, a seven-week Freedom from Smoking class based on the American Lung Association course. Phone calls and ongoing support are given after the patient is discharged from the hospital. The calls and support occur once a week during the first month and then monthly up to three months, if the patient is willing. The patients being visited are typically patients diagnosed with pneumonia, heart attack or heart failure that use tobacco.

Deming works with Norman Regional patients daily as a Health Promotion Specialist. "Most patients are very receptive to tobacco education when they are in the hospital. It is only a rare patient who won’t at least listen to my information for a few moments," she said. "Most smokers want to quit smoking." The statistics from the Health System’s In-patient Tobacco Cessation Program speak for themselves; over 10 percent of those inpatients contacted have successfully quit tobacco products. The program has not only a statistical success, but has demonstrably improved the overall health of Norman Regional’s in patients.

The Health System’s Tobacco Cessation program has also received the 2005 National Health Information Award and the 2006 National Health Information Award for Tobacco Free Campus.

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