By Kristin Rover
The average smoker can expect to die 10 years earlier than the average non-smoker according to Dr. Todd Williams, a family practice physician at Mercy Health-Georgetown Family Medicine.
“Almost a half million Americans die each year because of smoking,” Williams said. “These people don’t have to die.”
This is why Williams, and other physicians at Mercy Health, are helping residents quit smoking in the new year.
Mercy Health is offering a class for residents who want to quit smoking this year.
The class will be held Jan. 7 at Mercy Health-Clermont Hospital and is free to the public.
Williams said he decided to have classes at hospitals throughout the Mercy network after talking with many patients who wanted to quit smoking.
He teaches the class with Dr. Michael McHenry, also with Mercy Health-Georgetown Family Medicine.
“About 15 years ago I was fresh out of residency and talking to patients about how important it was for them to quit smoking,” Williams said. “I realized the amount of information exceeded the time I had with them at the office.”
Williams said he thought it would be good to have a class in the evening where he could present information he has learned about smoking and ways to quit.
He said the information he presents includes scientific research that has been proven to help people quit smoking.
“What we teach is not something we have created,” Williams said. “We teach what research has shown to be the best way to quit. We put that research together in one talk.”
Williams said the most important thing is that they recognize that smoking is extremely difficult to quit, and it is about quitting not only the addiction but also the habit.
“There are many things we teach for both the habit and the addiction,” Williams said.
Williams said they have the classes throughout Greater Cincinnati.
He said the class is for anyone who is thinking about quitting.
“We see people who seem to feel embarrassed that they need help quitting,” Williams said. “We all know it is extremely difficult to quit. If you have to swallow your pride, swallow your pride for the sake of your health and your family.”
Williams said quitting may be the single most important decision a smoker makes.
Williams said individuals who attend the classes don’t have to participate or volunteer, they can just sit through the class with a friend and listen.
He said he continues to host the classes because he enjoys helping people kick the habit and improve their health.
“The big thing for me is that I have seen the pride people have after they quit,” Williams said. “And the health benefits that come from quitting and to see people who feel better, live longer and are happy and proud is really rewarding.”
The class at Mercy Health-Clermont Hospital, 3000 Hospital Drive in Batavia, will be from 7-8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 7 in the Minning Lecture Hall.
There is no need to register for the class and walk ins are welcome.