Rachelle KhalafDirector, Public Relations and Communications
Houston (February 21, 2008) – Employers of tobacco users have a new resource to help employees kick the habit. This week, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic unveiled its Tobacco Free for Life program, designed to assist employers in providing employees an effective way to quit using tobacco.
"We designed the Tobacco Free for Life program to offer employers an effective way to help their employees succeed at quitting tobacco," said Robert Dickinson, M.D., executive director of Corporate Health and Wellness at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.
Smoking alone is estimated to cost the American economy $150 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each smoking employee costs his or her employer an additional $3,391 each year in decreased productivity, increased absenteeism and extra health care costs.
"Each year, thousands of people are diagnosed with health issues that can be traced back to their tobacco habit," Dr. Dickinson said. "This program supports the individual who wants help and the employer that wants a healthy workforce." Houston employers have another incentive to help their employees kick the tobacco habit. The New Year brings the initiation of the City of Houston's decision to ban smoking from public buildings and workplaces.
The confidential program is designed to support employees who want to stop smoking or using other tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco. Tobacco Free for Life is led by certified tobacco cessation specialists who conducts on-site meetings for employees interested in learning ways to successfully quit tobacco. Sessions include coaching and the opportunity for participants to discuss their struggles within a group setting.
Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, through the Tobacco Free for Life program, has also teamed with the American Cancer Society's Quitline® to provide telephonic counseling services to those individuals who want additional support to live a tobacco-free lifestyle. Tobacco Free for Life is part of Kelsey-Seybold's Wellness For Life product line and is offered to Houston-area employers.
Tobacco is known for its debilitating impact on the body's many systems. Different forms of tobacco impact different systems, but here's an example of what happens to someone who decides to stop smoking.
Twenty minutes after not smoking:
Blood pressure and pulse rate drop to normal levels
Hand and foot temperatures increase to normal levels
After eight hours:
Carbon monoxide in the blood drops
Oxygen levels increase to normal levels
One day later:
Risk of heart attack begins to decrease
Two days after quitting:
Damaged nerve endings begin regenerating
Senses, specifically taste and smell, improve
In two to 12 weeks:
Circulation and breathing improves
Walking becomes easier
One to nine months after cessation:
Shortness of breath improves
Overall energy increases
Lungs begin to self-clean and reduce infection
Respiratory ailments like coughing, sinus congestion and fatigue decrease
One year later:
Risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker
Five years later:
Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker
Risks of cancers in the mouth, throat and esophagus is half that of a smoker.
"There is no better time to stop using tobacco than right now," Dr. Dickinson said.
Kelsey-Seybold Clinic is Houston's premier multispecialty group practice, founded in 1949 by Dr. Mavis Kelsey in Houston's renowned Texas Medical Center. More than 650 physicians and allied health professionals practice at 36 locations in the Greater Houston area. Kelsey-Seybold offers quality medical care in 65 medical specialties. The organization operates the largest freestanding Ambulatory Surgery Center in the state of Texas and offers state-of-the-art Varian TrueBeam and Varian Edge radiation therapy technology at a nationally accredited Cancer Center. An accredited Sleep Center, comprehensive laboratory services, advanced imaging and diagnostics, 24 onsite Kelsey pharmacies and one specialty pharmacy, and MyKelseyOnline, a secure web portal, are part of its comprehensive offerings. Kelsey-Seybold partners with major insurers to offer value-based commercial health plans. KelseyCare Advantage, a Medicare Advantage plan offered to Houston-area beneficiaries and affiliated with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, has achieved the coveted 5-out-of-5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for seven consecutive years.
Kelsey-Seybold has been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as the nation’s first accredited Accountable Care Organization and a Patient-Centered Medical Home. Kelsey-Seybold has many physicians in the Greater Houston area certified for excellence in diabetes and heart and stroke care by the NCQA. In addition to these recognitions, Kelsey-Seybold is home to a nationally accredited Breast Diagnostic Center and Endoscopy Center.
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