Patients Quit At Duke

James Davis, MDJames Davis, MDMost smokers have tried to quit. They know it’s one of the best things they can do for their health. But ask any smoker — quitting isn’t easy.

According to the American Cancer Society, the nicotine in tobacco is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates more people are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug.

“Quitting is very difficult and may, for some, require multiple attempts,” said James Davis, MD, Director. “However, we’ve discovered that, if we understand why a smoker relapses, we can intervene with successful strategies like adaptive pharmacotherapy and evidence-based behavior treatments.”

No one understands better nicotine’s allures than Carl Sichi. Following a “cancer scare,” he decided that, after 65 years of smoking, it was time to quit — and this time, for good.

“I once quit for an entire year,” said Sichi. “But soon after I started again. Smoking a cigarette is like having a drink — one is too much and a carton isn’t enough.”

Patients enrolled in the Quit At Duke program receive a comprehensive evaluation to determine the most effective therapy available. These tailored treatments also employ long-term phone check-ups and access to research studies. 

“Cancer survivors who smoke often have high-level nicotine dependence, elevated stress, little energy and ongoing or intermittent feelings of anxiety and depression,” Davis said. “When factored in, these challenges make quitting all the more difficult. Quit At Duke offers a more successful approach because patients receive support from a tobacco treatment specialist. Research has shown smokers who try to quit with the help of best practice counseling, cessation medications and regular follow-up by specialists, experience two times the success rate in quitting long-term.”

Sichi is upbeat and believes with the help of Quit At Duke, this time it’s for keeps.

“I’m hopeful I’ll be able to quit,” Sichi said. “Just knowing that there are people available to me when I waver will make all the difference.”

Quit At Duke is located at Duke Cancer Center in Clinic 2-2. It is open to Duke cancer patients and survivors. For more information, call 919.613.QUIT (7848).