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At the turn of the 20th century, lung cancer was rare, as was smoking. It is easy to lose sight of this and what it implies: lung cancer need rarely exist. Tragically, in the 21st century, lung cancer has become the most common cause of cancer death in both men and women. It is so common that patients frequently diagnose it themselves, stopping smoking a few months before they go to the doctor because they know the symptoms all too well; the nightmare has turned into reality.

We are in the middle of an epidemic, proceeding in slow motion; a slow but lethal progression of a disease veiled in the cloud of advertising, habit and addiction. So much suffering…and it is preventable.

The Margarita Camche Smoking Cessation Program of the St.Luke’s Mount Sinai West aims to reach every smoker in our community, providing support and therapy that works.

Smokers need to hear the good news that they absolutely can succeed in quitting, that current pharmacologic therapy not only works but works well and prevents the very difficult withdrawal and cravings that were faced in the past. Equally, smokers need to be aware that they must succeed…that otherwise cancers form, lungs gets destroyed, asthma becomes unmanageable, diabetes produces escalating vascular disease, blindness and renal failure, and on and on.

How do we reach out to the community? We use a wide variety of approaches to reach a wide variety of people:

  • Our hospital-based, specialized, smoking cessation clinic sees approximately 300 patients per year, In a one-on-one encounter, we are able to focus on the stumbling blocks an individual faces in their efforts to stop smoking. A review of the patient’s medical conditions, along with their family medical history, allows us to understand how smoking affects the patient’s current health and risk factors. We devise a plan that safely fits with the patient’s current condition and medications. We use behavioral modification techniques and the latest medications available.
  • Our community outreach program goes to local neighborhood centers, street fairs, colleges and even the street corner. We give lectures and counseling, and distribute nicotine replacement medication.
  • By training medical caregivers, we bring the smoking cessation clinic to each medical encounter. Often those who have a chronic illness, heart disease, diabetes, psychiatric illness or HIV don’t want to go to an additional clinic for help with their smoking. Therefore we provide training and support for physicians and nurses to add smoking cessation to their own practices:
    • Medical house staff of Mount Sinai St. Luke's Roosevelt
    • Pulmonary and cardiology fellows of the hospital
    • HIV physicians and caregivers
    • Psychiatric and addiction staff
  • Medical students need to hear the how’s and why’s of smoking cessation and behavioral modification early in their careers. Medical students from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons get hands on experience and training in our clinic and students of the Sophie Davis Medical College of the City College receive an introductory lecture on the approach.
We view smoking cessation as an urgent issue. We have ever-improving tools and approaches. The biggest hurdle now is developing the techniques to help people who have quit stay smoke-free, because nicotine addiction is a chronic disease and relapses are part of the process.

We need to reach all smokers in our community to let them know that help is available for this tough addiction, and that they will succeed!

If you are a smoker, come and see us…….you won’t regret it!

We are located at Mount Sinai St. Luke's on Tuesday mornings, 212-523-4410, Clark building, 2nd floor, area H and at Mount Sinai West on Wed mornings 212-523-6056, Winston building, 2nd floor area 2N.

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