New Program at Putnam Hospital Center Helps Smokers Quit

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Putnam Hospital Center recently implemented the Opt-to- Quit program to assist patients who wish to stop smoking.

The program is developed by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and facilitated by the New York State Quitline Service.

At Putnam Hospital Center, both inpatients and outpatients are asked if they smoke as part of a routine nursing assessment. If they respond yes, patients are asked if they want information on smoking cessation and whether they want their name and number given to the Opt-to-Quit line. If they agree, a representative from the state program will contact them within 48 to 72 hours from discharge and provide them with a range of services at no cost to them.

Luanne Convery, vice president of patient care services, said when patients are admitted to the hospital they cannot smoke, so if they truly want to quit it is important to continue that momentum once they are discharged.

“We are doing this to encourage smoking cessation and the prevention of lung cancer,” Convery said.

Approximately 13.9 percent of adults in Putnam County smoke cigarettes, according to statistics gleaned from the Putnam County Department of Health.

The county health department, working with its many community partners, including Putnam Hospital Center, developed a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), which identified specific priorities to improve the health of Putnam residents. Prevention against tobacco use by youths as well as promotion of smoking cessation with adults are two of many objectives selected by the group on which to focus.

Community partners POW’R Against Tobacco and the Center for a Tobacco-Free Hudson Valley are also working closely with the health department and the hospital on these initiatives.

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