What exactly does a Tobacco Treatment Specialist do and why should I go see one to help me quit smoking?
A Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist is a professional who possesses the skills, knowledge and training to provide effective, evidence-based interventions for tobacco dependence. Many smokers are approached as soon as they are seated in a physician exam room if they currently use tobacco. Too often these smokers are lectured about the health risks if they don’t stop. Perhaps they have tried to quit smoking and failed or they feel that it might be too hard for them so why even try? Most tobacco users know that smoking is bad for them but feel that their addiction is just too strong to overcome because they have been smoking for a long time. A Tobacco Treatment Specialist will not lecture you. Rather they will give you the information you need to know about smoking, how nicotine affects you and what you can expect when you wean yourself away and then prepare you for long term success.
People can and do quit smoking. But many do not stay quit. Smoking Cessation medications such as nicotine gum, lozenges, patches, inhalers, nasal spray along with Wellbutrin and Chantix can be very beneficial in quit attempts and can be purchased over the counter or prescribed by a physician. Counseling from a Tobacco Treatment Specialist also has promising success results. But the combination of both counseling and medications are far more effective for long term quit success.
During the initial patient assessment with a Tobacco Treatment Specialist, you will review past quit attempts and current tobacco use to determine nicotine dependency, medical history, current health issues, current medications, screening for depression, review current/ past alcohol use. The specialist will also measure the level of motivation the patient has to quit smoking. In collaboration with the patients, the specialist will develop an individual treatment plan using evidence based strategies and coordinate appropriate use of cessation medications. Patients are then monitored on a regular basis through individual follow up appointments, weekly group classes and telephone conversations to ensure that they are on the right treatment plan for them so that they can be successful in their quit attempt. It may take more than one quit attempt to be truly successful. The goal is not to get you quit for a day or two, our goal is for you to gather the information and quit tools needed so that you can STAY quit.
The Smoking Cessation Department at Ochsner Health System is very diverse. We have unique and gifted individuals from various educational backgrounds who will provide a warm, confidential and non-judgmental counseling environment. Our counselors not only provide treatment and guidance to our patients but also educate other health care professionals, administrators and nonsmokers about tobacco dependence. We follow a 5A Treatment Approach:
- ASK we will ask every patient at every visit about their tobacco use
- ADVISE we will advise every smoker to challenge themselves in a quit attempt
- ASSESS we will assess every smokers current treatment plan/ medications and assess their level of motivation
- ASSIST we will assist in motivational interventions so that a patient remains focused on their quit goal
- ARRANGE we will arrange for follow up appointments to monitor and encourage progress
If you’re looking for tips or tools to overcome strong urges to smoke, the Tobacco Treatment Specialists at Ochsner can get you through your day with success. Quitting smoking is a journey with a lifestyle change. Not a single event. From the initial conversation on tobacco use to celebrating smoke-free milestones, our Tobacco Treatment Specialists are here to guide you through the journey to a life of health and happiness.