Cherokee Nation offers 8-week smoking cessation classes

05/09/2019 08:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
In this 2018 photo, Amy DeVore, Cherokee Nation public health educator, speaks with Regina Sumler, left, and Mettie Detherage during a smoking cessation class at the CN Vinita Health Center. Sumler and Mettie were taking the class to stop smoking. ARCHIVE
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation Public Health offers quarterly smoking cessation classes for anyone, not just tribal citizens, in their journeys to become smoke free. NORTHWELL HEALTH
TAHLEQUAH – When attempting to quit smoking, people are met with challenges in the process. Cherokee Nation Public Health offers quarterly smoking cessation classes for anyone, not just tribal citizens, in their journeys to become smoke free by helping them face those challenges.
CN Public Health offers eight-weeks of classes using the Freedom From Smoking curriculum, which meets once a week.

“It’s free for anybody, so you don’t have to be Cherokee, you don’t have to be Native. The eight weeks teaches people some coping skills and things that they can use to stop using tobacco products,” CN Public Health educator Sonya Davidson said.

She said they do encourage Native American participants to talk with their health care providers about nicotine replacement therapy. Non-Natives can call the 1-800-QUIT-NOW line to obtain the therapy.

“Week 4 is usually when we set our quit date. So we’ll go through the program, we’ll learn steps and things and triggers and patterns, and then on Week 4 they’ll stop using tobacco and either use their nicotine replacement therapy or if they want to go cold turkey, that’s completely up to them.” Davidson said.

In the classes, participants receive informational handouts, a CD with stress relief tips and a quit kit with small items such as sugar free gum, hard candy or straws just to help them along the way.

“If I can help one person quit it’s definitely worthwhile,” Davidson said.

CN citizen Laura Rust is someone who has taken the classes and has successfully been smoke free for three years.

Rust said what motivated her to quit smoking was when her mother passed away of heart failure four years ago at age 74. She said her mother was also a smoker.

“She maybe could have lived a longer life. I’m thinking smoking didn’t help matters much, but its what she did. I mean as long as I can remember she smoked. My dad smoked. As a child, I started smoking at 16. I smoked my whole life. When she died I thought, I really need to quit,” Rust said.

She said when she first started trying on her own it was difficult. She began taking the classes in March 2016.

“You’ve got to set your mind to it. You’ve got to really want it because it’s not going to be easy. Still, every now and then I think, I want a cigarette. But when I smell it, I can’t stand the smell of smoke,” she said.

Rust said Davidson and other Public Health educators were supportive and there for her throughout her process. “They did everything they could to help me. They were encouraging and calling and checking on me.”

She added that if someone is ready and willing to quit, the classes help, but they have to “be ready.”

“I think you have to have your mind set when you want to do that class. You can’t just go in and expect them to fix you. You have to be ready,” Rust said.

For more information, call 918-453-5000, ext. 3167 or email
About the Author • 918-772-4223
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing in journalism. She started working for the Cherokee Phoenix in 2016. Working for the Cherokee Phoenix, Lindsey hopes to ...


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