Health Team

Drug Helps Hospital Employees Go Smoke-Free

Posted July 4, 2007

— Area hospitals went smoke-free Wednesday, but some health care workers needed help to kick the habit in time for the deadline.

The hospitals have banned tobacco products indoors for years, but the new smoke-free policy applies to all hospital property, even parking lots, and applies to patients and visitors as well as employees.

The policy change was set more than a year ago, and hospitals offered special classes and nicotine replacement medications at half price to help employees comply.

"We stressed. You know, there's no way they can take away our smoking," said WakeMed employee Tracy Stancil, a 20-year smoker who said she  expected to be one of the last holdouts. "My inspiration for wanting to quit is my son. He's 12, and about a year ago, they told us that he had asthma."

WakeMed education specialist Debbi Hillman said health warnings usually aren't the convincing factor for longtime smokers.

"They really need to look inside themselves and (ask), 'Why did I start smoking? Why do I want to quit smoking? What are the benefits to me and my family and my job,'" Hillman said.

To help her quit, Stancil asked for Chantix, a drug that blocks the nicotine receptors in the brain so that cigarettes don't have the same effect.

"The smokers will tell you it's just a miracle to them. It's just a miracle medication," Hillman said.

Stancil said she has been smoke-free for three months, and she said she wants to convince other smokers to follow suit.

"Just the fact of getting up in the morning and not wanting to smoke blew my mind, and that was from taking this (drug)," she said. "I feel better. I breathe better. I smell better."


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  • Local_Moderate Jul 6, 2007

    An interesting P.S. on insurance coverage of Chantix...

    Some insurance companies have separate rider policies on different classes of meds (offered in small groups, to make policies more affordable).

    Chantix, it turns out, is lumped in with weight-loss and ED meds with some insurance policies. As such, most employers given this particular choice do not choose this coverage. That's what happened with my employer's policy.

  • rafiki Jul 6, 2007

    Angry Independent, am glad you caught that too...20yr old with a 12yr old baby! Or did she mean 12 month old baby?

  • Local_Moderate Jul 6, 2007

    I have been nicotine-free for 165 days because of my use of Chantix. It doesn't work for everyone, but it worked for me.

    I still get urges now and then, but they're easy to work through. I took Chantix for about 4 weeks, then weaned off the meds half, then quarter. I was off completely in about 8 weeks.

    I can honestly say I'm an ex/non-smoker now. It was worth the cost (took out a credit card to pay for it for me and Mrs.).

    I even built a web site with free music to help folks quit. music 2 quit by dot com.

    Try Chantix if you can. I can't tell you how much better my life is without nicotine...

  • educgrad Jul 5, 2007

    it's not only the smell,if you are able to stop smoking, you improve your health and the health of those you smoke around
    even if you do gain some weight

  • ladyblue Jul 5, 2007

    After smoking for 30 years it is the only drug that stopped the craving of the cig's. It's a miracle drug to smokers. I had tried about a dozen times with everything else. Now I don't smell like I'm curing tobacco in those old time tobacco barns. You['ll spend no more for a month supply of this drug than you would a month supple of cig's.

  • bugsmama05 Jul 5, 2007

    I wish they made the medicines to quit a little more affordable for some... The Chantix is $104.00 without Insurance. The is a 30 days worth.

  • mgteacher Jul 5, 2007

    It did work for a friend who used chewing tobacco. He's been chewfree for almost a year.

  • NC Forester Jul 5, 2007

    Does anybody know if the drug works for smokeless tobacco (Copenhagen) users?

  • packandcanesfan Jul 5, 2007

    Good luck to all of you that want to quit. Smoking has never appealed to me and for that I am grateful.

    Great idea to get all smoking away from hospitals and their grounds. With patients and visitors making their way in and out of the hospital, they don't need to be exposed. Plus the fact that nurses/doctors, etc. that smoke, bring the smell back in on their clothing and some patients/people are extra sensitive to it.

  • RYANROCCO Jul 5, 2007