Advocate Estimated printed pages: 4 July 17, 2005 Page: E1 Kicking the habit Story MELISSA KNIFIC By Melissa Knific Advocate Reporter Suzy Barnes knew exactly what she was getting for her 45th birthday. She just didn't know if it was going to work. "I was very skeptical about it," the Granville resident said. But her gift -- a trip to De'ja' vue, Inc. Center for Alternative Health where she underwent hypnotism to kick her pack-a-day smoking habit -- was a success. Over 25 percent of Licking County residents are smokers, according to Becky Voris, health educator for the Licking County Health Department. However, that percentage may be slowly declining since the state raised the cigarette tax by 70 cents per pack. Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation spokeswoman Beth Schieber said the organization's Ohio Tobacco Quit Line has experienced a significant increase in calls since July 5 -- four days after the tax was implemented. Typically, the Quit Line handles 150 callers per day. Schieber said the number was closer to 300 during the first full week of the tax. "Health is always the No. 1 reason people tell us they want to quit," Schieber said. But she said the foundation has noticed a recent trend -- 20 percent of callers in July have declared cost as the reason for quitting, compared to 11 percent before the tax. Although the callers have doubled, Schieber believes many are people who have wanted to quit but see the tax as added motivation. Whatever the reason, Schieber said it's never too late to give up the habit. "No matter how many years you've smoked, if it's something you want to do, it's worth doing," she said about quitting. Pataskala resident Brian Blackburn, 32, successfully called the Quit Line in March after nearly 16 years of using smokeless tobacco. His cravings still pop up every now and then, but he said he now has the "self power" not to do it. "If you really want to quit, stick with it," he advised. Barnes immediately stopped smoking once she left De'ja' vue on June 2. The business is located on Cherry Valley Road in Newark. Johnstown family practitioner Dr. Ron Vargo made a deal with Barnes, the billing manager at his office. If Barnes attended hypnosis and quit, Vargo would pay for her sessions. Now a month-and-a-half post-treatment, Barnes said she has no desire to smoke a cigarette. Dee Krier, De'ja' vue owner and master hypnotherapist, said during sessions she tries to pinpoint why a patient uses tobacco. "I give them a mind, thought or pattern versus giving them a drug to get off a drug," Krier said, noting she doesn't believe in using nicotine to kick the habit. She claims the $145 program -- which includes two sessions and a CD -- has a 100 percent success rate for those who really want to quit smoking. Prior to hypnosis, Barnes tried medication and nicotine replacement therapy but said both made her irritable. Many health insurance companies don't cover such treatments, Vargo said, and medications can cost $100 per month, while nicotine replacement therapy runs about $60 per box. Both treatments take at least three months, he added. Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation has paired with several insurance companies to offer eight weeks' worth of free NicoDerm patches to tobacco users. Those who enroll in the Quit Line and are insured by Medical Mutual of Ohio, Paramount Care, Summit and CareSource are eligible during the 18- month pilot program (which began this week). Whichever method a smoker uses to quit, Voris said asking for help is the first move. "For a lot of people, that's the hardest step," she said. Melissa Knific can be reached at (740) 328-8547 or firstname.lastname@example.org Who to call Programs *Licking County Health Department offers Freshstart, a free smoking cessation program through the American Cancer Society. The four sessions are held from 5 to 6 p.m. at the health department, 675 Price Road, Newark. Call Becky Voris at (740) 349-6535. *De'ja' vue, Inc., Center for Alternative Health, provides a hypnosis program. Cost is $130 for the CD and two sessions. De'ja' vue is located at 2060 Cherry Valley Road, Newark. Call (740) 522-5114 or visit www.de-ja-vue.com. *Licking County Moundbuilders Guidance Center holds hypnosis sessions. The agency is located at 65 Messimer Dr., Newark. Call (740) 522-8477. *Licking County Alcohol Prevention Program offers the Nicotine Intervention Program for Adolescents. Cost is $30 per student. LAPP is located at 62 E. Stevens St., Newark. Contact Ty O'Donnell at (740) 366-7303.
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