Since 1999, the use of tobacco products has been prohibited at all Pecan Valley Centers' facilities. Recently, the organization has announced plans to enhance the existing tobacco-free policy effective November 20, 2014, in honor of the National Great American Smokeout. Similar to other Centers around the state, Pecan Valley Centers has opted into the Tobacco Cessation Initiative that is recognized by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Pecan Valley Centers believes leading by example in promoting positive, healthy behaviors within the community. To make this transition smooth, various tools and resources are available. If you or someone you know is interested in quitting tobacco, begin by calling the free Quit Line at 1-877-YES-QUIT.
Tobacco Use and its Effects
Tobacco affects everyone in society directly or indirectly and has serious implication on health, social well-being and finances. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 400,000 Americans lose their life every year because of tobacco use and about $197 billion is spent each year treating tobacco related illness.
Individuals living with a mental illness face greater challenges when dealing with tobacco addiction:
- Individuals living with a mental illness are two to four times more likely to develop a nicotine addiction when compared to the general population.
- Smokers with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and addiction consume nearly half of the cigarettes sold in the United States. Individuals with SMI are more than twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease, over three times as likely to develop respiratory disease and cancer, and have a life expectancy that is twenty-five years shorter than the general population
Studies indicate that approximately 70 percent of the tobacco users who want to quit attribute success rates to availability of support and resources.
Pecan Valley Centers' Services
Pecan Valley Centers supports and offers a variety of options for staff and/or consumers wishing to quit tobacco use. The information and professional assistance available can help to support both your immediate and long-term needs to become and remain, a tobacco-free. Resources include:
- An online step-by-step cessation guide,
- The tobacco Quitline: 1-877-YES-QUIT,
- Free Nicotine Replacement Aids (limited time only),
- Publications that can be downloaded or printed,
- Medical assistance if needed
The immediate health benefits of quitting smoking are substantial. Heart rates and blood pressure levels can be abnormally for smokers, but will return to normal after quitting. Within a few hours carbon monoxide (odorless gas in cigarettes that reduces the ability to carry oxygen) levels in the blood begin to decline. Within a few weeks, people who quit smoking have improved circulation and respiratory functions. Within several months of quitting, people will experience significant improvements in lung function.
Other reasons to quit:
- Reduces the risk of cancer and other diseases, such as heart disease and lung disease
- People who quit at by the time they reach the age of 30 reduce the chance of dying from smoking-related diseases by more than 90 percent. Those who quit at by the time they reach the age of 50 reduce their risk of dying prematurely by 50 percent. Even people who quit at about age 60 or older live longer than those who continue to smoke.
Help Someone You Know Quit
It’s understandable to be concerned about someone you know who currently smokes. Find out whether they want to quit; if they say they don't, try to find out why.
Here are some things you can do to help:
- Express things in terms of your own concern about the smoker’s health
- Acknowledge that the individual may get something out of smoking and may find it difficult to quit
- Be a source of encouragement and express your faith that the smoker can quit for good
- Suggest a specific action, such as calling a smoking Quitline, 1-877-YES-QUIT
- Ask the smoker for ways you can provide support
Here are two things you should not do:
- Don’t send quit smoking materials to smokers unless they ask for them
- Don’t criticize, nag, or remind the smoker about past failures
Useful Tips and Resources To Share
http://www.yesquit.org/ - Texas QuitLine
http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/greatamericansmokeout/index - American Cancer Society
http://www.becomeanex.org/ - Very practical website; message boards for people trying to quit
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/QuitSmoking/Quit-Smoking_UCM_001085_SubHomePage.jsp - American Heart Association
http://smokefree.gov/ - great smartphone text message program
http://betobaccofree.gov – very comprehensive website