Tobacco Treatment Program
REACH for Community Health sponsors programs and initiatives with the goals of preventing area residents from taking up smoking or to assist smokers in quitting. Smoking and/or chewing tobacco is both a habit and an addiction. REACH addresses these factors in its programming.
The need to reduce the smoking rate is at the crisis point in the Northern Berkshires. The smoking rate for adults in North Adams is 27.8%, with 33% of pregnant women smoking. This compares to an overall rate in Massachusetts of 18% and 7.9% respectively. Smoking during pregnancy can cause low birth weight and premature delivery. Smoking around small children can cause asthma and higher susceptibility to colds and ear infections.
The tobacco treatment program at REACH works closely with medical care providers in north Berkshire County to identify smokers and offer treatment. Providers at Northern Berkshire Family Medicine, Northern Berkshire Pediatrics and Northern Berkshire OB/GYN regularly screen smokers and offer referrals to treatment.
Through state and local grants, programming is available to assist smokers in quitting. Whether individual sessions or groups, a certified tobacco treatment specialist provides assistance on an on-going basis. The tobacco treatment program coordinator offers information about stress management, weight control, and relapse prevention. In addition, the program addresses positive thinking, changing behaviors and support. Nicotine replacement therapies (such as the nicotine patch and gum) are available for purchase.
Registration is required for all tobacco treatment services. Counseling sessions may be covered by individual insurance providers and will be billed accordingly. Those patients without insurance coverage will be offered options for coverage or self-pay for services.
Many health insurance companies pay for quit services and MassHealth provides an excellent quit smoking benefit. Ask your MassHealth primary care provider to prescribe medications and refer you to a stop-smoking counselor. Find more information at http://makesmokinghistory.org/en_US/quitting/set-your-plan-in-motion/public-insurance.html
New Tobacco Products
The tobacco industry is always changing its tactics to get around new laws and regulations that are passed to restrict tobacco’s influence on young people. The Northern Berkshire Tobacco-Free Community Partnership educates adults about new tobacco products like candy and fruit flavored small cigars, dissolvable tobacco and snus. More information is available at http://makesmokinghistory.org/en_US/youth/new-tobacco-products-protecting-young-people-from-tobacco-industry-tactics.html