‘Freedom From Smoking’ Returns Sept. 4

A smoking cessation program with the backing of the American Lung Association returns to the UConn Health Center this fall with two sessions.

Freedom From Smoking” is a seven-week program that prepares smokers to quit, provides proven techniques, and offers personalized support. Session 1 meets Tuesdays starting Sept. 4. Session 2 meets Mondays starting Oct.1.

Terri Seelig, respiratory therapist, will facilitate the Tuesday class. (Lanny Nagler for UConn Health Center)

“I am tired of watching people die due to smoking,” says respiratory therapist Terri Seelig, the facilitator for the Tuesday class. “I would like everyone to quit. It would be awesome to help people quit so they can enjoy a healthy, long life.”

Nurse practitioner Diahann Wilcox, who will facilitate the Monday class, brought “Freedom From Smoking” to the UConn Health Center in January. Eight people successfully completed the program.

“We focus on changing behavior and replacing smoking with healthy lifestyle choices,” Wilcox says.

Diahann Wilcox, an advance practice registered nurse, will facilitate the Freedom From Smoking Program.

Diahann Wilcox, an advanced practice registered nurse, will facilitate the Monday class. (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Center)

One of Wilcox’s “graduates” was Suzanne Brayton, who says the support system the class offers helped her stay on track.

“You have to take a look at your smoking habits, look at what you’re doing,” Brayton says. “You have to write down times of day and what you’re doing, and what your mood is when you light up. You keep a diary, then look back and make a conscious decision to eliminate the triggers. I signed up for an exercise class and kept myself real busy during my trigger times.”

Wilcox and Seelig each completed a one-and-a-half-day American Lung Association training program to become certified facilitators.

“I have had family members and friends pass away too young as a result of smoking,” Seelig says. “As a respiratory therapist, I have also taken care of many patients with smoking-related illnesses. I would like to help people quit smoking before they become debilitated by their habit.”

“Caring for people with smoking-related disease and knowing that their suffering could have been prevented is what drove me to get involved,” Wilcox says. “My door is open to any smoker who is motivated to quit, no matter how many times they have tried before.”

As for Brayton, she feels healthier and proud of her success.

“There’s a self-satisfaction that you kicked a habit you know is bad for you, and that gives you a more positive outlook on your health,” she says.

And there’s the economic benefit of not buying cigarettes anymore.

“I already spent it,” Brayton says. “I spend more on going out with my kids. I’ve been able to grow my entertainment budget.”

“Freedom From Smoking” provides a tool box of smoking cessation techniques with personalized support. It meets once a week over seven weeks. The $50 registration fee is refundable after successful completion of the program. Call 800-535-6232 to register or for more information.


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