Publication:Chattanooga Times Free Press; Date: ; Section:Life; Page:35


HEALTH

Laser therapy among newer stop-smoking methods

By Clint Cooper Staff Writer

    After 40 years of smoking, Jim Robin    son will be smoke free for one year     on Saturday.

    Indeed, he believed so much in the Anne Penman Laser Therapy he received in Atlanta to help him quit that he bought a franchise.

    "I had tried virtually everything out there," said Mr. Robinson, 54, a former high school counselor.

    A spokesman for the American Cancer Society said the organization does not endorse a particular method for quitting but said the ultimate goal is to quit.

    "We know smoking kills people," said the organization’s Michael Holtz. "We’ve known that since the Surgeon General’s report in 1964. It’s linked to a whole host of diseases, not the least of which is lung cancer."

    The American Cancer Society will mark its 29th annual Great American Smokeout locally with a luncheon at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. and a reception at Life Care Centers of America in Cleveland, Tenn., at 4:30 p.m.

    The speaker at both events will be Patrick Reynolds, grandson of tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds. His message is "Tobacco Wars!" or "The Truth About Tobacco."

    Mr. Reynolds, who lost both his father and his oldest brother to cigarette-induced emphysema and lung cancer, said he first spoke to a congressional subcommittee in 1986 and in 1989 founded the Foundation for a Smokefree America.

    The more he was "catapulted into the spotlight," he said in a phone conversation
from his home in California, "the more dedicated I became."

    While Mr. Reynolds said he will share his personal story, he also will speak on tobacco issues specific to Tennessee.

    Among those, he said, are urging the state to repeal a preemption law that doesn’t allow local governments to make their own rules on indoor clean air laws, tobacco taxes or fines for illegally selling tobacco products to minors; persuading the state to raise its cigarette tax so the product won’t be as attractive to young people, who have a higher addiction rate than the rest of the population; and implementing tobacco education programs with some of the state’s tobacco settlement revenue.

    Mr. Reynolds said, according to statistics, Tennessee is one of five states which allocate no funds for tobacco prevention among youth from tobacco settlement money. In addition, he said, 27.6 percent of Tennessee high school students and 26.1 percent of adults smoke, both of which are higher than the national average.

    However, he said youth smoking is on the decline nationally and especially so in states where money has been spent on tobacco prevention programs.

    Mr. Reynolds said such states have seen a 50 percent decline in middle school smoking and a 35.6 percent decline in high school smoking.

    "(The programs) work," he said. "That’s all the more reason to do something for the kids."

    Mr. Reynolds, who smoked for 15 years, said the most important message for smokers to learn is not to give up if they try and fail to stop.

    "You can do it," he said. "The journey is to become a nonsmoker."

    Mr. Reynolds suggests smokers get in some kind of program to help them quit, but he said they should give equal weight to their craving after the original urge has gone away.

    "The secret is ‘Hold on for five minutes,’ " he said.

    Mr. Robinson said not even a heart attack was enough to motivate him to stop smoking.

    "I figured lightning doesn’t strike twice," he said.

    When Mr. Robinson learned about the laser treatment, he was initially leery.

    "I had never heard of it, but I was intrigued so I checked it out," he said.

    When it worked, Mr. Robinson became so interested in the therapy he decided to quit his job and open a franchise in Chattanooga.

    In the therapy, a low-level cold laser is applied to a variety of pressure points on a smoker’s ear, nose, hands and wrist, and endorphins — feelgood chemicals in the body — are gradually elevated and held in a heightened state.

    "That, in turn, reduces craving, stress and the irritability that goes with withdrawal," Mr. Robinson said. "It makes it easier to stop smoking."

    Nicotine from cigarettes, he said, elevates endorphins quickly, then sends them to a quick crash.

    The Anne Penman Laser Therapy method has a national 64 percent success rate, higher than most other methods, he said. He said his franchise has maintained that standard.

    Mr. Holtz of the ACS said while the organization can’t vouch for the method, it is intriguing.

    "It sounds like a pretty neat thing," he said.

    E-mail Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com TOBACCO TALK     Patrick Reynolds, grandson of tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds, will help mark the 29th annual Great American Smokeout by speaking at a luncheon at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. and at a reception at Life Care Centers of Cleveland on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. The cost for the luncheon meeting is $20;

registration is required.

For information, call 209-5535. The Cleveland, Tenn., reception is free, but registration is required. For information, call Paula Petty at 728-7020, ext. 154. Mr.

Reynolds’ appearance is sponsored by Tobacco-Free Tennessee, the American Cancer Society, Campaign for a Healthy and Responsible Tennessee and Students Taking a Right Stand.

STRATEGIES TO QUIT SMOKING     Consider using medication to help you quit. There are prescription and over-the-counter medications that can help you deal with withdrawal symptoms or even help to reduce the urge to smoke.

    Enlist support. Many states, communities and health-care organizations have free or low-cost counseling available to help you quit. Tobacco-Free Tennessee has a QuitLine in Chattanooga.

That number is 209-8008.

    Get help or ask for help from your health-care provider.

    Don’t keep your intention to quit a secret.

Include your friends and family in your quitting process; they can offer much-needed support.

    Clear the places where you usually smoke of anything that reminds you of cigarettes — like lighters, ashtrays or matches. Also ask other smokers not to smoke around you, and clean your house and car thoroughly to remove the smell of cigarettes.

    Avoid places where smokers gather. Go to the movies, museums or other places where smoking is not allowed.

    Calm the nervous energy you may feel with physical and mental activities. Take long strolls and deep breaths of fresh air, and find things to keep your hands busy, like crossword puzzles or gardening.

    When the urge to smoke strikes, do something else. Call a supportive friend. Do brief exercises such as pushups, walking up a flight of stairs or touching your toes. Keep oral substitutes like carrots, apples, raisin, or gum handy. And never allow yourself to think that "one won’t hurt," because it will.

    — American Cancer Society


Contributed Photo Patrick Reynolds, grandson of tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds, believes smoking is harmful.