SEARHC opens tobacco program office on POW

Posted: Sunday, January 31, 2010

KLAWOCK - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Tobacco Program recently opened an office at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock. Longtime Klawock resident Sandra Demmert has been hired as the health educator for the office, which will be open 40 hours a week.

The SEARHC tobacco program provides up to a year of free individual support services and three months of free nicotine replacement therapy products (patches, gum and lozenges) for any resident of Prince of Wales Island who wants to quit using tobacco. In addition, Chantix, a prescription medicine to help people quit tobacco, is available to SEARHC's Native patients.

In addition to the half-time position providing tobacco cessation services, Demmert also will serve as a community health educator, addressing the effects of smoking and secondhand smoke for all of Prince of Wales and working on other health promotion projects.

"Prince of Wales has been asking for these services to help combat the devastating effects of tobacco use, including cancer and heart disease," said Andrea Thomas, SEARHC Tobacco Program manager. "We are thrilled to have someone as qualified as Sandy join the health promotion team."

"Tobacco use is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome, but we are here to support and give people the tools they need to quit smoking," Demmert said. "The use of tobacco cessation support and nicotine replacement therapy can be 10 times more effective than quitting cold turkey."

The tobacco program office will be open on Monday through Friday during normal business hours. To schedule an appointment, contact Sandra Demmert at 907-755-4925 or by e-mail at Prince of Wales residents also can call the Alicia Roberts Medical Center at 907-755-4800 to be connected to the tobacco program office.

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