Angel Pownall started smoking cigarettes when she was 18 years old because, like many people, her friends smoked.
Her habit grew to a pack a day. She quit during pregnancies, but started again after having her two children. Now in her 30s, the Lexington wife and mom knew she needed to quit for good.
“I didn’t want my kids to see me smoke, because I worried they might start smoking,” she said. “And I didn’t want to get lung cancer, have my life cut short and be taken away from them.”
Lisa Lewis, an RN for Cardiac Rehabilitation at LMC Lexington, initiated the program, which started in January 2013, with one goal in mind – help others to quit smoking. She received her certification from the American Lung Association as a tobacco-cessation facilitator and began to build a program.
The smoking-cessation program at LMC Lexington meets once a week for two hours and lasts eight weeks. It is open to anyone who wants to quit smoking, and because of a generous grant from the LMC Foundation, there is no cost to participate.
Since its inception, the smoking-cessation program at LMC Lexington has achieved a completion rate of 49%, which is above the national average, and 31% of those who completed the program have remained tobacco free.
The program doesn’t end with the completion of the eight-week course. Lewis and her team check on each participant at 30-, 90-, 180- and 365-day intervals for the first year. The American Lung Association also invited Lewis to become a facilitator trainer, which is a role usually reserved for its employees. LMC Lexington now has a team of five tobacco-cessation facilitators.
“It was refreshing to talk to people who knew what it was like to be a smoker and understood how hard it was to quit,” Angel said. “It was very supportive.”
Angel has a success story. She has not smoked a cigarette since completing the Lexington Medical Center smoking-cessation program. And she feels great.
“I don’t feel as tired or worn down. My skin looks better. My hair and clothes don’t smell like cigarettes anymore. I saw a chance to turn things around – and I’m so glad that I did.”
If you or someone you know wants to quit smoking and participate in Lexington Medical Center’s smoking-cessation program, please call (803) 358-6180.
The Lexington Medical Center Foundation provides important programs and services that help people in our community, including cancer patients. Please consider giving to the Lexington Medical Center Foundation during the Central Carolina Community Foundation’s “Midlands Gives” challenge on May 5. Learn more at MidlandsGives.org.