Though we all know the health risks of smoking, it doesn't necessarily make it any easier to kick the habit. However, there are resources available to MUSC employees who are ready to make that decision and are looking for help.
Most of us know that kicking the habit is the single biggest improvement to health a smoker can make. In addition to the list of health risks associated with smoking, employees covered by a state health plan feel an additional financial burden. Beyond the high cost of cigarettes is a tobacco-user surcharge that adds $40 to $60 per month to health insurance premiums, depending on coverage. Unfortunately, knowledge of health risks, financial concerns and even pressure from loved ones doesn't always make it any easier to kick the habit.
One resource available to employees and covered dependents is the Quit for Life Program provided free of charge to subscribers of the State Health Plan and BlueChoice HealthPlan. A professionally trained Quit coach works with the individual to create a personalized quit plan. The participant may call the Quit for Life toll-free support line as often as needed. Participants receive a comprehensive Quit guide and five telephone calls from a Quit coach. The program provides free nicotine replacement therapy (nicotine patches, gum or lozenges) or the Quit coach may recommend consulting with a physician to find out if a smoking-cessation drug, such as bupropion or Chantix, is a better choice. The prescription drugs are available through the plan's prescription drug benefit.
Another resource available to all residents of South Carolina age 13 and older is the S.C. Tobacco Quitline, which is a free phone and Internet-based cessation program. It is a science-based program that uses a one-on-one counseling approach and has been clinically proven to help participants quit smoking for the long term. Services are available 8 a.m. to 3 a.m., seven days a week. After the initial call, participants work with their Quit coaches to schedule subsequent sessions. The Quit coach will then call the participant at agreed-upon times and dates. Of course, participants are free to call between scheduled sessions if they need extra support. The Quitline is a partnership between the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and Free & Clear Inc., a Seattle-based tobacco treatment provider with experience running quitlines in 28 states.
For more information, visit http://www.scdhec.gov/quitforkeeps or call 800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669).
MUSC also offers smoking cessation classes. Treatment is based on the latest methods designed to break down smoking triggers and overcome nicotine addiction. This four-week program discusses the latest advances in medications that can help smokers quit, offering referrals to a physician if medication is requested. To schedule an appointment with the MUSC Smoking Cessation class, contact MUSC Health Connection at 792-1414. These classes are available to any member of the community.
Within the first 20 minutes of quitting, the healing process begins. The benefits will continue to improve your health and quality of life for years. It is never too late to quit smoking, so take the first step today. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employee Wellness events
- Employee Fitness Series: A free Pilates class will be held from 12:15 — 12:45 p.m. July 12 at the MUSC Wellness Center. Participants will receive a free day pass to the Wellness Center. Email email@example.com to register for this class.
- Wellness Wednesday: MUSC respiratory therapists will be offering free lung health screenings from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. July 13 in Children's Hospital lobby. Tests available include spirometry testing and pulse oximetry checks with additional information on lung health and smoking cessation.
- Employee Fitness Series: A free strength and conditioning class will be held from 4:15 – 4:45 p.m. July 20 at the MUSC Wellness Center. Participants will receive a free day pass to the Wellness Center. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register for this class.
- Mobile mammograms: The Hollings Cancer Center Mobile Van will be conducting mammograms from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 20 next to the Basic Sciences Building loading dock, behind the College of Dental Medicine. Call 792-0878 to schedule an appointment.
- Worksite screening: The next screening will be held July 21 in Room 803 Harborview Office Tower. The screening is $15 with the State Health Plan and $42 without. Register at http://www.musc.edu/medcenter/ health1st.
- Farmers market: Fresh fruits and vegetables are available from local farmers from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every Friday in the Horseshoe and in the grassy area next to Ashley River Tower behind Charleston Memorial Hospital. Olinda Olives and Olive Oil will be offering fresh California certified extra virgin olive oil and naturally cured olives from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Horseshoe farmers market.
Contact Susan Johnson at email@example.com to become involved in employee wellness at MUSC.