By Sgt. Tom WadeMarch 28, 2017
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Some people cringe at life's twist and turns, believing there is nothing they can do to change it. Other people believe that what does not kill you, will only make you stronger. But for one of these personal challenges, the 31st Combat Hospital provides hope.
Therefore, some contractors and U.S. Armed Forces service members attended a Tobacco Cessation Program, March 24, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. The mission of this program is to provide participants access to care, which will give them the tools needed to live a healthier life free from tobacco products.
"The program is facilitated through individual counseling sessions, group education and pharmaceutical therapy," said Capt. Grantley Quintyne, public health nurse, 31st CSH. "We take pride in never turning anyone away, which is one of the big things when it pertains to access to care."
Doctors in this program require the individual's commitment to four group education classes, which are on Fridays. The overall time participants spend in the program lasts between 30 to 60 days, depending on one's company mission directives and the individual's will to end their addiction. The extended time frame also allows the doctors to observe and treat any reactions to the prescribed medicine, as well as adjust patch dosages by raising or lowering it based upon the participant's evaluation.
"Data shows that people are more successful quitting tobacco, with a combination of class, behavior modification and as well as medication," said Maj. Elisabeth Hesse, preventive medicine physician, 172nd Preventive Medicine Detachment. "We offer three different types of medication here, which are nicotine patches, nicotine gum and zyban."
Medicine alone cannot cure one's addiction to tobacco products. It is through group therapy where participants address myths that had previously hindered one from taking a stand against tobacco usage. Subject matter experts come in weekly to educate participants on topics such as healthy nutrition substitutes, which can help out during times of cravings, to the affects smoking has on the pulmonary system.
"Nicotine affects one's brain by messing with the neurotransmitters involved in functions like muscle movement, memory, breathing and learning," said Sgt. Kevin Wohl, respiratory care specialist, 31st CSH. "Nicotine also raises the levels of dopamine in the brain, which explains why it is so hard for people to quit smoking."
There are no judges of failure in this program, it is only suggested that if one "falls off," to bring it to a professional's attention and do not give up on your primary goal.
"I have been smoking for over 40 years, and been participating in this program for four weeks" said Johnnie Pickett, contractor, CACI International, Inc. "After 10 attempts of stop smoking, I have been free of cigarettes for over 19 days. This is why I would highly, highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to be tobacco free."