GOSHEN, Ind. – Don Linton first tried to quit smoking after a heart attack 19 years ago. But he couldn’t. Then four years ago, an emergency room doctor told him if he wanted to keep breathing, he had to quit smoking or get an oxygen tank. Don didn’t want to die, so he quit cold turkey.
When a husband learned he had spots on his lungs, his wife quit first. He quit three days later. A middle school counselor tried for weeks to get up the nerve to quit after surgery for breast cancer. She succeeded even before her chemotherapy ports were removed. At least two members of the group had smoked for over 50 years before they quit.
All are members of the Goshen Health Beat Tobacco Class and Support Group that meets every Tuesday evening. Whether you are ready to quit smoking or not, you can hear stories of encouragement, struggle and triumph by attending the group. People come to the group every week, even though they continue to smoke. Sometimes it takes months for them to decide they are ready to quit.
“The single best thing a tobacco user can do to significantly improve their health is to quit using tobacco,” says Mark Potuck, Goshen Health tobacco treatment specialist and support group leader. “I tell people not to feel guilty if they don’t quit right away. But I also encourage them to never quit trying to quit.”
Dozens of residents from throughout Elkhart County credit the support group with helping them to stop smoking and start living healthier lives. Use of tobacco is linked to increased likelihood of developing certain cancers, as well as heart, lung and vascular diseases.
Goshen Health is one of only a few hospitals in the country with a dedicated, full-time tobacco cessation specialist.
As part of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout November 16, all tobacco users are encouraged to try to quit smoking.
The Beat Tobacco Class and Support Group meets every Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Goshen Heart & Vascular Center in the Wellness Classroom, 2nd Floor, 1855 S. Main Street, Suite B, Goshen, Ind. For more information, call (574) 364-3759.