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'Start now, don't wait until it's too late': Tobacco Treatment Program hoping to help Hoosiers quit smoking

Posted at 9:10 PM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 21:10:40-05

INDIANAPOLIS – Smoking at first was something Albin George only did socially. The habit started while George was abroad in Europe, and for years, he said he only smoked while traveling for work or on trips with friends.

“Intellectually you understand it’s not good for you, but it’s very different because you don’t necessarily see the side effects instantly,” George said.

When the pandemic hit, his habit took hold and every day, George was smoking nearly a pack of cigarettes. The 28-year-old recalls walking out onto his balcony one day and seeing the ground covered in cigarette butts. That is when he said he knew something had to change.

“Knowing myself, I know that I can’t do it by myself,” George said.

The young professional enlisted the help of Dani Barwise and the IU Health Simon Cancer Center’s Tobacco Treatment Program. The program couples counseling with education and resources to limit or quit smoking.

Barwise said the program helped nearly 500 patients over the last three years with 37% total quitting smoking.

George said he significantly limited the amount of smoking since starting the program and hopes one day soon he can quit completely.

In a preventative effort to reach Hoosiers before a cancer diagnosis, the Tobacco Treatment Program started to recently expand to IU Health primary care offices.