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Certified tobacco treatment specialists ready to help people quit

Quitting smoking is one of the best things people can do for their health, but it's also one of the hardest. To help smokers in their quest to quit, the Essentia Health Clinics in Baxter, Brainerd and Pine River are offering a new tobacco treatme...

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Quitting smoking is one of the best things people can do for their health, but it's also one of the hardest. To help smokers in their quest to quit, the Essentia Health Clinics in Baxter, Brainerd and Pine River are offering a new tobacco treatment program.

The program is led by certified tobacco treatment specialists trained through the Mayo Clinic including registered nurses Shannon Obe, Essentia Health Hackensack and Pine River clinics, and Anna Gilson, Essentia Health Crosslake, Emily and Pequot Lakes clinics.

Many people will try to quit on their own with the aid of nicotine patches or gum. But doing it alone may mean they do not have the proper dose of nicotine replacement therapy. They may end up smoking again and ultimately feeling like they have failed.

The certification course focuses on the skills needed to treat tobacco dependence, including identifying how patients' bodies adjust after tobacco cessation.

During the initial visit, the tobacco treatment specialist will gain a better understanding of the patient's history of tobacco use, past quit attempts, medications tried and what triggers them to smoke. Also, the patient will set a quit date or develop a reduction plan together with the specialist. Follow-up appointments are made to be sure the patient has ongoing support throughout the journey to quit smoking and for as long as the patient would like.

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Smokers who would like to work with a tobacco treatment specialist can call their local clinic or 218-828-7100 and request an appointment. Individuals can also be referred by their primary care provider.

Most insurance companies cover the cost of counseling sessions and nicotine replacement products, but it's best to contact insurance providers to find out the degree of coverage.

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