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A presidential health problem

March 2, 2010

When President Obama had his annual physical earlier this week, the doctors proclaimed him to be “in excellent health.”  However, according to his health care professionals, the President still struggles with smoking addiction  – something that almost 46 million other Americans also struggle with.

In fact, the average smoker has tried to quit at least 10 times before actually stopping for good – but it doesn’t have to be an area of frustration, says Brad Collins, the director of Temple University’s Behavioral Health Research Clinic.  He says it’s often a step-by-step process.

“There is always the debate of reducing health risks versus becoming entirely free of cigarettes, but for many people, that’s extremely hard to do,” he says.  “Anything a smoker can do to reduce or completely eliminate their addiction – whether it be through acupuncture, hypnosis, nicotine patch – is helpful.  But not everything will work for everyone.  If, as a smoker, you try something and it doesn’t work right away, check it off and keep going down the list until you find something that does.”

Collins recently presented findings at the annual meeting of the Society for Nicotine and Tobacco Research from a study on a home-based behavioral intervention that helped new moms in undeserved neighborhoods cut down on their smoking.

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