Siteman Helps Smokers “Kick The Habit”

Nov. 5, 2007 – An estimated one million smokers will attempt to kick the habit this month as part of the annual Smokeout.

The Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine will offer it’s annual Siteman Smokeout for Life on Nov. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Center for Advanced Medicine at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Forest Park Boulevard.

Maria Baggstrom, MD, a medical oncologist at Siteman who specializes in treating lung cancer, will be at the Smokeout to talk with participants about ways to quit. She says while most everyone knows the dangers of smoking, not everyone wants to quit.

“You have to have a patient who wants to quit smoking,” Baggstrom says. “And when you talk with them, you look at gradual ways of quitting.”

Baggstrom says those gradual ways can be supplemented with nicotine-replacement methods such as patches or gum or with new drugs like Chantix that make smokers not want to touch cigarettes.

In addition, she says it’s important to get the message out to America's youth about the dangers of smoking.

“Some children start smoking as early as middle school, and they can become addicted more quickly than an adult,” Baggstrom says. “Once they start, it’s harder to quit, and then you have someone who becomes a lifelong smoker.”

This year’s Siteman Smokeout for Life is co-sponsored by the St. Louis Blues and Pfizer Inc. Siteman will offer information on the dangers of smoking and the benefits of quitting, a free pulmonary function test and oxygen saturation screening, and information about smoking cessation classes. A Blues player will be on hand to sign autographs.

For more information, call the Siteman Cancer Center at 800-600-3606.