Quit Tobacco with Personalized Plans

Duke provides free individual consultations, group classes and more

Since he was a child, Don Watt dreamed of owning a Yamaha V Star motorcycle. But instead of buying one as an adult, he was spending his money on cigarettes.

Watt's tobacco addiction cost him about $150 a month until this January, when he quit for the sake of his health. He used that money to lease his dream ride for $4,200, which he paid off in one year.

"I couldn't have done it if I was still smoking and spending all that money on cigarettes," said Watt, a general maintenance mechanic with Duke's Facilities Management Department. "It's a habit that hurts your health and your wallet."

That's something that could be more evident next year. Duke faculty and staff who use tobacco or smoke will be asked to pay slightly more for insurance starting in January 2013. Because tobacco use drives up health care costs and leads to chronic health problems, employees who are smokers or tobacco users will be charged $10 per month. Duke will remove the charge if an employee successfully completes a tobacco cessation program.

Doris B. Jordan
Click to enlarge

Duke offers a range of free tobacco cessation services, including prescription tobacco-cessation drugs with no co-pay and one-on-one consultations to design individualized quit plans at no charge with LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke's employee wellness program.

Diane Dunder, LIVE FOR LIFE's smoking cessation specialist, said one-on-one sessions are ideal because they create personalized timelines for quitting and offer an in-depth look at methods to quit. Because most smokers try to quit more than once, personal consultations involve reviewing quitting attempts to determine what worked and what didn't for each person, she said.

"Having a quit plan creates the most informed attempt to quit for people," Dunder said. "Often, this is the biggest health change for most people and it's hard."