Tag Archives: smoking

Karen Bermel LIMHP, MC

The Great American Smoke Out: Getting Started with Stopping!


I am the first to admit that smoking cessation is not part of something I do with Alegent Creighton Health in my role as a behavioral health therapist. So when I was asked to write a blog about helping people quit smoking, I knew I needed to turn to an expert. That expert is Lisa Fuchs, a certified tobacco treatment specialist here at ACH who does a lot of work – a lot of great work – with helping people quit smoking. Lisa works one-on-one or in groups to help people quit smoking. She tells me that there is greater success with the individual one-on-one sessions. She also reports there are many tools to help people quit, but the most … Continue reading

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Eric Van De Graaff, M.D.

Smoking in the Military


The military has a long tradition of mixing warfare and tobacco.  Years ago the army included a pack of smokes in every C-ration distributed to the troops; as a result it was more common for soldiers to take up smoking than to remain abstinent.  The tobacco industry insured itself a whole generation of addicted consumers by volunteering their product to help the war effort.  Years later, of course, we’ve inherited this tradition in the form of lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease among our veterans. When I was a young doctor in the air force one of my jobs was to oversee the base’s Put Prevention Into Practice Program, an anemic effort to bring down the cost of military medical … Continue reading

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Eric Van De Graaff, M.D.

It’s Never Too Late to Quit


I recently had a 65-year-old patient look at me incredulously as I suggested that he should quit smoking.  “I’ve been smoking for 50 years,” he replied indignantly.  “Stopping now won’t help anything.  I’m too old for it to do me any good.” This interaction made me think of a slide I have in one the presentations I give on how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.  It is a timeline, produced by the American Cancer Society, that details how quickly various health benefits accrue once a smoker finally kicks the habit.  The information is based on numerous scientific studies that evaluate how quickly (or slowly) the human body heals after a person stops bombarding the lungs with toxic carcinogens and pollutants. … Continue reading

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Eric Van De Graaff, M.D.

Leg Swelling


Swelling of the legs is a common problem and one I encounter on an almost daily basis.  It can be mild—nothing more than an unsightly nuisance—or quite severe with skin breakdown and open sores.  It can be an occasional occurrence or an ongoing vexation. Most everyone has experienced swelling at some point in their lives.  You eat at a Mexican cantina—gorging on the free chips and salsa and indulging in salty margaritas—and the next morning you awake to find that someone has replaced your fingers with Vienna sausages.  By evening your lower legs feel like you have silly putty under the skin. The technical term for swelling like this is edema (or, if you’re British, this term is conveniently filed … Continue reading

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Jen Homann

Are Scare Tactics the Best Tactics?


Want to get your message across? Why not evoke fear in your audience – that will certainly get their attention, right? That’s the premise behind the FDA’s recent decision to require tobacco companies to place certain anti-smoking images on cigarette packaging. You may have already heard about this. The images, which the FDA says must cover at least 50% of the front and back of each pack, range from the relatively tame (a photo of an oxygen mask) to those you may find disturbing (an image of an emaciated lung cancer patient or a man smoking through a hole in his throat). The FDA will choose the final images by next summer and tobacco companies will have until October 2012 … Continue reading

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