So cold turkey didn’t go so well. You tried reading that book someone recommended. Maybe you made it a few days/weeks/months, then fell off the wagon. Now’s the time to give quitting another go. At PAR, we know your chances of stopping smoking for good are better when you have support and educate yourself. Our smoking cessation courses place you with about 10-15 other people determined to drop the habit to keep you accountable, and sessions are led by our lung specialists to guide your focus and cheer you on.
Sandi Little, RRT initiated the smoking cessation program at PAR, and after taking a class with the American Lung Association to become a program facilitator she has been helping individuals find freedom from smoking for nearly five years. Her experience leading the program is best summed up in her own words:
“Being a Respiratory Therapist for over 40 years and a pulmonary function technologist at PAR for over 12 years, I have seen firsthand how addictive nicotine is and how difficult it is to stop smoking. As I stood by and watched lung functions decline year after year on the same patients because they still smoked, it gave me the desire to help them quit. After doing some research and looking for a program we could offer at PAR, I found the Freedom From Smoking® (“FFS”) program at the American Lung Association. FFS is considered America’s gold standard in smoking cessation programs, and it is positive, evidence based and highly structured.

I became an FFS facilitator in 2015 and have completed six clinics since then. It can be hard to recruit patients. I call and will speak to each one personally, explaining the program. Most patients are interested, but don’t want to make the commitment to quit right then. I try to encourage them to come and at least hear about the program, and if they don’t want to do it at that time, they don’t have to. I remind them that quitting is a process and sometimes it takes more than one attempt. If they go through the program once and don’t quit, they are always welcome to come back, at no charge, a second or even a third time.

When a patient actually quits smoking for good, I can’t tell you how great they feel about themselves. They can finally say they are a non-smoker! At one point during the program, participants are asked to write a good-bye letter to their cigarettes. Some of those letters are very emotional and they include how sad they are about all they have lost from being a smoker. Not only the money it costs to smoke, but also their health, and the health of the people around them.

Being a Freedom From Smoking® facilitator is a very rewarding experience and I love it when the patients are finally able to quit! We always go out together and celebrate their success when the program is over, and I try and keep in touch with them afterward to see how they are doing.”

Programs at PAR are offered twice a year, typically once in the spring and once in the fall, and include eight meetings that take place over the course of seven weeks, from 4:30–6:30 p.m. Typically the first four sessions take place while participants are still smoking as usual, then participants meet on their quit day and three times after. The $60 fee for the program covers the cost of a workbook and supplies for each participant, but also serves to keep you accountable for showing up week after week, and if a participant falls back into the habit they are encouraged to join a course with PAR again for free.
You don’t need to be a patient at Pulmonary Associates to join for the FFS program, so if you have a friend or family member who would like to take the course with you (or if you’re not a smoker but know someone who might be interested in learning more about quitting), we welcome them to sign up, too!

Our next Freedom From Smoking® course begins Thursday, October 3rd, 2019. For questions or to sign up today, contact Sandi Little at slittle@paraccess.com, or leave a message for Sandi with our call center at 804.320.4243.