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Helping Patients Quit Smoking

Pictured below: Carol Southard, RN, MSN, receives an award from the American Lung Association for her many years of successfully helping tobacco users quit. Charles Dean Connor, American Lung Association President and Chief Executive Officer, presented the award.

The following post was submitted by Carol Southard, RN, MSN, a Tobacco Treatment Specialist who heads Northwestern's Smoking Cessation Program.

Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, where one in five adults still smoke. Each year, nearly two in five cigarette smokers try to quit, but fewer than 5 percent succeed, a reflection of both the higher level of addiction to nicotine and lack of access to cessation treatment.  Smokers with lower incomes are especially affected and lack the financial means to attend cessation programs. 

The most vulnerable populations--the young, indigent, and less educated--have the highest percentages of smokers and the least probability for cessation treatment. The largest study of its kind reported that whether one smokes tobacco or not has a greater impact on life span than being wealthy or poor.  Findings also confirmed that it is never too late to quit--ex-smokers had survival rates much closer to those who had never smoked than to those with a confirmed tobacco habit. 

The annual No More Lip Service Fundraiser raises funds to help low-income Chicago area residents who are interested in participating in the Tobacco Cessation Program offered at Northwestern, but can’t because they don’t have the financial resources to do so. Community contributions are needed now more than at any time in my 28-year career as a Tobacco Treatment Specialist as all funding to support cessation intervention has been cut.

Please consider making a donation. Every little bit helps. Thank you for your support!