Tobacco Treatment Program
There are many obstacles to face when helping people quit smoking. Smoking can be a very strong habit that involves the potent drug nicotine, but is a very important lifestyle change, especially for patients undergoing cancer treatment. It is critical that cancer patients quit smoking after initial diagnosis, as this has been shown to positively impact response to treatments (therapeutic radiology, chemotherapy, surgery), decrease the likelihood that patients will develop second malignancies, and increase rates of survival. Motivational factors often come into play because people receive satisfaction from smoking, and in many cases have been smoking since youth.
Smilow Cancer Hospital offers a quit smoking program. The program aims to help patients quit by combining counseling and drug treatment. The cessation program is offered to all patients being treated at Smilow in Connecticut. Tobacco products are rapidly changing with the advent of new technology. E-cigarettes heat a liquid with nicotine and other chemicals in it. The inhaled vapor contains chemicals that are harmful, including cancer-causing agents and tiny particles that can enter the lungs. E-cigarettes also contain nicotine, which is what makes tobacco addictive. If you choose to use an e-cigarette to help you quit tobacco, you should also plan to wean off of using e-cigarettes. They are likely less harmful than cigarettes, but they are not harmless. We offer evidence-based treatment options, including medications and behavioral strategies, to meet individual needs.
The Tobacco Treatment Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital operates on the principles of the U.S. Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guidelines. All treatment components are evidence-based. Therefore, all patients are treated with FDA approved first line medications for smoking cessation and smoking cessation counseling that stresses appropriate coping skills (e.g., coping with cravings, major relapse triggers, etc).
The program utilizes the appropriate treatment based on each patient’s individual situation and history with smoking. Our program provides treatment for non-English speakers and includes Telehealth video visits. You can also get text support through SmokefreeTXT (Text YALE to 47848).
Heidi DiGiovanni, Coordinator