Tag - quit smoking

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Improving Health, One Organization at a Time
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New Year! New, Tobacco-Free You! (or Family, Friend, Co-Worker or Employee)
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A Holiday Safety Checklist….
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The Link Between Childhood Trauma and Tobacco Use
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Free Upcoming Healthy Workshops

Improving Health, One Organization at a Time

By: Valerie Valcour

Did you know that where you live, your zip code, is important to your health? Do you think that where you work, play and learn are also important to your health? How about when you stop in that corner market for a quick snack or when you meet for church service, do you think these places impact your health too? The Vermont Department of Health says yes.

The Vermont Department of Health has added two new organizations to the list of 3-4-50 partners. There are new Tip Sheets and Sign-On forms for retailers and faith-communities. Haven’t heard of 3-4-50?

3-4-50 is a simple but powerful way to understand and communicate the overwhelming impact of chronic disease in Vermont. 3-4-50 represents 3 behaviors – lack of physical activity, poor nutrition and tobacco use – that lead to 4 chronic diseases – cancer, heart disease/stroke, type 2 diabetes and lung disease – resulting in more than 50 percent of all deaths in Vermont.

Retail establishments, like the corner markets, can help you meet your goals for good health by displaying healthy snack options like fruit and nuts and they can keep tobacco products out of eye-sight, especially from children.

Faith-communities can set guidelines that make sure healthy foods are made available during coffee hours, potlucks and meetings. They can also create property-wide tobacco-free spaces. Having bike racks or offering physical activity options for gatherings can also help the overall health of the community.

Join the Lamoille Valley 3-4-50 Partners and sign your organization on to good health and wellness today! http://www.healthvermont.gov/3-4-50


Valerie Valcour is a Public Health Nurse and specializes in chronic disease prevention and emergency preparedness at the community level for the Department of Health in Morrisville. Valerie has lived in Lamoille County most of her life. She graduated from People’s Academy in 1983 and worked as a nurse at Copley Hospital for several years. In addition to her work, she volunteers as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.

New Year! New, Tobacco-Free You! (or Family, Friend, Co-Worker or Employee)

By: Alison Link

For many of us, the New Year has become a time of resolutions and goal setting. In this post, we want to share smoking and tobacco cessation stories and resources to encourage all who may be considering quitting smoking or reducing exposure to second-hand smoke. In Vermont, three behaviors – one being tobacco use – lead to four chronic diseases (cancer, heart disease, lung disease and diabetes) result in over 50% of deaths. (Learn more here.)

802 Quits

Vermont quit smoking resourceAs we know, behavior change is difficult. So what factors help those who are using tobacco make the shift in their stage of change from pre-contemplation or contemplation to action, making a quit plan and implementing it with the support they need? What follows here are a couple of personal stories of those impacted by 802 Quits.

This fall, Hiata Kirby, a Healthy Lamoille Valley staff member, was searching our website for upcoming edits, a process that led her to http://802quits.org. A smoker of 12 years, she wondered how the site worked and how it could help her. As she continued deeper into the 802 Quits website links and articles, she thought, “I can do this!” and started making a plan. She set a quit date 3 weeks away as the prompts on the site helped her to think through choosing a realistic quit date. The site also helped her plan for what she would do when having a craving and identify the nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patches, and/or lozenges) she wanted to use. She was able to place an order to have them mailed to her in time for her quit date.

This New Year’s Eve, she will be 4 months smoke-free with many thanks to her husband and son who have encouraged her to quit. It’s not easy, but Hiata reports taking lots of deep breaths, and being extra vigilant. She is grateful for the free nicotine replacement, and that it arrived in advance of her quit date. The arrival of the products was another day that she looked forward to within the process. Reflecting on her experience thus far with 802 Quits, Hiata said,

“I think the thing I liked the most about 802 Quits and quitting… and my best advice to others hoping to quit, is to make a plan. It takes a long time to break a habit…stay busy and figure out how to not have nicotine in your life. My incentive is the health part and my family.”

Hiata is not alone in this appreciation for the support and free quit products offered by 802 Quits. Casey Dewey, Development Coordinator at Green Mountain Support Services, quit recently through a class offered in conjunction with 802 Quits and Vermont Quit Partners at her workplace. She said,

“802 Quits was very helpful. It made it financially affordable to quit. It would have been cheaper in the moment to keep smoking. It was important to be able to quit with people I know and who I used to smoke with in the past. Now, we go for walks and still make the time for that few minutes break.”

Hiata and Casey both mentioned that they still take a break, just not a smoke break. Instead, it’s an outside break, often with a social component and sometimes a walk. Planning in advance for the free nicotine replacement products was very helpful for both of them, as well as the planning for the next round in advance. Whether using 802 Quits online or through a class, those connected to the program feel supported. 

Local Classes Starting in January

If you are interested in a local cessation class, two classes are starting in January. Classes run for 4 weeks and provide 8 weeks of free nicotine replacement for those interested and a free gift card once the course is completed.

Erica Coats, of CHSLV coordinates the Lamoille Valley classes and shares the importance of the 802 Quits partnership. “802 Quits provide the community with resources and education surrounding how to quit and how to get connected with the resources. 802 Quits has been a great supporter for the cessation classes here in Lamoille county, providing participants with 8 weeks of free nicotine replacement as well as quit tools to help individuals be successful in their drive to quit tobacco.”

Kate Myerson, Tobacco Cessation Specialist and a Class Facilitator, adds, “Classes are a great way to learn from others going through the same thing without fear of judgment.”

January cessation class start dates:

  • January 10th – Cambridge Family Practice 5-6pm
  • January 18th – SASH building in Morrisville 5-6pm

**If you are an employer and interested in offering a cessation class at your workplace, please contact Erica at (802) 253-9171 or Alison at alison@healthylamoillevalley.org.

Sneak peak!

What to look out for in the next months from 802 Quits website:

  • A new look and updated website launch!
  • Based on customer feedback and research, 802 Quits will become more accessible for those interested in using the resource.
  • 802 Quits will help folks take action around cessation- quit on their own and get medication to help.
  • Quit Your Way! Regardless of how an individual wants to quit… on phone, in person, online, the website will have relevant and useful information. There will be opportunities to learn what to expect with and compare the different options.
  • 802 Quits can help those interested motivate themselves, learn why they smoke and create strategies to help with that, create a quit plan, and receive information on putting a plan into action.

 


Alison Link is the Policy and Community Outreach Coordinator for Healthy Lamoille Valley, where she spends two-thirds of her time working on the new tobacco prevention grant received from the Vermont Department of Health. Alison can also be found teaching courses at Johnson State College, volunteering with restorative justice programs and supporting individuals in valuing their time, staying healthy and enhancing their leisure lifestyles through her own initiative, The Leisure Link. Alison enjoys the quality of life in Vermont and lives in Morrisville with her husband, Rabbi David Fainsilber (of the Jewish Community of Greater Stowe) and their young children.

A Holiday Safety Checklist….

By: Jessica Bickford

 

It’s that time of year when we create lists to make sure that we don’t forget the important details of our celebrations. Today we’d like to provide you with a list for keeping yourself, your family, and your guests safe and healthy this holiday season.

Prescription Drug Safety – More information is available at https://www.healthylamoillevalley.org/prescription-drugs.

____ Lock or safely secure prescription drugs and other medicines.  Talk to those you may be visiting to share this information with them as well.

____ Talk to younger children about NOT eating any “candy” without checking in with an adult first.  Many medicines look like candy to young children.

____ Talk to children and teens about the importance of not taking medicines prescribed to someone else.

___ Remove unwanted or expired prescription drugs from the home by bringing to one of the three year-round prescription take-back sites in our region: Hardwick Police Department, Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, and Morristown Police Department.

___ If you have young children, sit on the floor or crawl around the places where they will be playing. It is not uncommon for a dropped pill to be unnoticed.

Alcohol

____ Offer fun, non-alcoholic drink options for guests. This helps youth to see that they don’t have to have alcohol to have fun and provides a nice choice for those who choose not to drink alcohol.

____ Monitor your alcohol. Serving or providing alcohol to minors is illegal and not good for them.  Assign an adult to ensure that youth do not have access to alcohol. Lock up open bottles of alcohol such as rum or brandy. Did you know that youth who use a drug, like alcohol, before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to struggle with substance use at some time in their life? Not a pleasant holiday gift…

____ Monitor your guests. If you choose to serve alcohol, you are responsible to make sure that your guests are in a safe “state of being” to drive. Even “buzzed” drivers create fatalities.

____ Talk to your kids and teens about your expectations and the importance of waiting to consume alcohol until they are of age. Parentupvt.org has some great resources to help with these conversations! 

Tobacco

____ Talk to your children and teens about the dangers of tobacco products. Tobacco products come in many forms (e-cigarettes, chew and smokeless products, etc), but none are safe. The tobacco industry targets youth with use of flavors. You can find more at http://www.counterbalancevt.com.

____ If you have guests who smoke, prepare a designated outdoor smoking area out of the way of passersby where others will not be exposed to secondhand smoke. Or consider asking them to not smoke while at your home.

____ If you have guests who use smokeless tobacco products and e-cigarettes ask them to refrain from using in your presence, especially around youth.

____ If you or someone you know is ready to quit or thinking about it… share with them our local Vermont quit smoking resource, http://802quits.org.

General

____ Create a family check-in system. Family and friends’ gatherings can be wonderful or stressful. For our kids, they can be a time of connecting or a time to be challenged to try risky behaviors. Develop a plan with your children and teens to check in periodically throughout the gathering and help them to have a plan to get out of tricky situations without creating an awkward situation. Sample ideas include a keyword or phrase; asking if they can help; an invitation to join in a game…

____ Bring age-appropriate games or activities for your kids with you. You can help bring the fun… creating a joyous and safe environment!

____ Check out tips for safe food storage ahead of time! http://www.healthvermont.gov/environment/food-lodging/food-safety-consumers

____ Plan to have some healthy food options. Even a simple plate of raw vegetables is a pleasant break between the abundance of sweets and heavy holiday foods.

____ If you have a live tree, water two times a day. Consider adding a teaspoon of sugar every three days to feed the tree and keep it fresher longer.

____ Check your holiday lights. If there are any exposed wires or broken cords, discard and replace.

____ Depending on the length of your gathering, consider planning some opportunities for physical activity such as sledding, skating, a snowshoe, or a simple hike.

____ Don’t forget to check on your vacation days from work.  If you can take them, do! It’s healthy to take breaks from our work environments.


Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

 

The Link Between Childhood Trauma and Tobacco Use

By: Scott Johnson, Lamoille Family Center

Perhaps you’ve heard about the impact of trauma on long-term health. In Vermont and here in Lamoille Valley there is a lot of attention being paid to the set of childhood experiences that are directly linked to challenges later in life. These experiences, called Adverse Childhood Experiences (see the list below), or ACEs, are traumatic events that, if untreated, can have significant negative effects. The most common of these ACEs in Vermont are: divorce/separation, parental substance abuse or mental illness, and extreme economic insecurity.

What may surprise you is the link between these ACEs and tobacco use. The chart below shows the number of ACEs and their relationship to early smoking onset, adult smoking rates, and the lung disease known as COPD. Here are some important statistics about those connections.

  • If you experience more than three ACEs you are more likely to use tobacco.
  • 88% of Vermont smokers started before age 18.
  • In Vermont, forty percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 who have experienced more than three ACEs are using tobacco. That’s more than twice the number of users in that age range who have fewer than three ACEs.
  • Those individuals with four or more ACEs are 3x more likely to start smoking before age 18.

According to the Vermont Department of Health website, tobacco use is the NUMBER ONE preventable cause of death. In Vermont, smoking costs approximately $348 million in medical expenses and results in about 1,000 smoking-related deaths each year.

 

According to their own internal documents, tobacco companies try to attract new young smokers by targeting retail stores near schools and parks. (http://www.counterbalancevt.com)

 

According to the 2015 Youth Behavior Risk Survey, almost one-quarter of high school students in Lamoille County have reported using three different types of tobacco products:  27% tried electronic vapor products, 23% tried a flavored tobacco product, and 22% smoked a whole cigarette, with 11% of students reporting that they smoked within the past 30 days.

If we want to reduce the use of tobacco and improve health outcomes in our region we must do something to reduce exposure to those ACEs, or do more to help young people heal from the impact of those experiences before they start using tobacco. The annual focus on urging smokers to quit is called The Great American Smokeout, and it occurred last week on November 16th. Maybe some of you participated in this event, and remain tobacco free!

The community has an important role to play in reducing the likelihood our young people will choose to smoke. The links between smoking rates and adverse childhood experiences tell us that solutions lie in community-level efforts that support children, youth, and families. Research shows that the kind of help that makes a difference includes community-level activities that:

  • Make sure all children are socially and emotionally supported, and
  • Assure each family has two or more people who can offer concrete support in times of need.

As you may have heard, Healthy Lamoille Valley (HLV), our community prevention coalition, has regained tobacco prevention funding and is charged with addressing prevention of initiation of tobacco use among youth, eliminating exposure to second-hand smoke, and increasing tobacco-free policies in towns, public places, workplaces, and college campuses. If you want to get connected to our local efforts, including our reestablished HLV Tobacco Prevention Task Force, contact the HLV Policy and Community Outreach Coordinator, Alison Link at alison@healthylamoillevalley.org. Check out the website at https://www.healthylamoillevalley.org/tobacco.

 

*ACEs include: mental illness, depression, or person with suicidal intentions in the home; drug addiction or alcoholic family member; parental discord – indicated by divorce, separation, abandonment; incarceration of any family member; witnessing domestic violence against the mother; child abuse (physical, sexual, emotional); child neglect (physical, emotional).


Scott Johnson is Executive Director of the Lamoille Family Center and has worked in Lamoille Valley in human services and education for nearly his entire career. The Family Center has served our community by encouraging, educating and celebrating children, youth and families for forty years.

Scott writes about early care and education, adolescent development and strengthening families that improve conditions of well-being.

Free Upcoming Healthy Workshops

There are some terrific FREE opportunities coming up to help you make healthy choices. Check these out:

supportgroup

Living with Diabetes: If you or a loved one is living with diabetes, there’s a diabetes support group that meets monthly at Copley Hospital’s Wellness Center. Call Nancy Wagner at 888-8369 for details.

Chronic Pain Management: February 6th at Stowe Family Practice at 1:00-3:30 p.m. Learn ways to reduce pain, deal with related issues like having trouble sleeping, and more.

Quitting Smoking: February 22nd, Morrisville SASH, 5-6 p.m. When you’re ready to quit smoking, the Vermont Quit Partners are ready with free workshops to help you set up a plan and succeed in being tobacco-free. There are Quit Partners all across Vermont available to provide support and motivation to help you through the quitting process. Call Erica Coats at 253-9171 to sign up.