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Did you know you can join a smoking cessation program through your health insurance?

Being around for your kids or grandkids. Better heart and lung health. Whiter teeth. Whatever your reason for wanting to quit smoking, plenty of resources can help you succeed. But did you know your health insurance may be one of them?

“There are plenty of programs available to help you — like smoking cessation programs,” says Kristen Ziller, wellness associate at Geisinger Health Plan.

Read on for how quitting smoking can improve your overall health — and how joining a group of others trying to quit, too, can help you conquer tobacco.

Benefits of quitting smoking

So you’ve made the decision to quit smoking? Great! You’ll reap both immediate and long-term benefits for your body.

A really important one: Within a day, your blood pressure drops, and with it your risk of a heart attack or stroke. You’ll also be able to breathe easier within just 8 hours of quitting smoking because your body’s oxygen levels will increase and your lung function will improve. And it’ll only get better as more time goes by.

Your risk of developing cancer and heart disease decrease, too. After your last cigarette, your risk of developing lung cancer is cut in half. After a year of not smoking, your risk of heart disease is cut in half, too. And your risk for developing esophageal, bladder and pancreatic cancers will also decrease.

What is a smoking cessation program?

If you need help to quit smoking, a smoking cessation program is designed to do just that. “Quitting on your own can be difficult, but an organized group keeps you accountable while setting you up with the resources you need to succeed,” says Ziller.

One of the best things about a support group? It lets you see you aren’t alone. And even if you can’t find a local support group, virtual support groups abound online. Check with your health insurance to see if they offer a support group to help you stop using tobacco — it’s another smart way to start to quit.

I have Geisinger insurance. How can I sign up for a smoking cessation program?

If you’re a Geisinger Health Plan member, you can join a smoking cessation program by logging into your member portal to complete a consent form. When you answer “yes” to the question about whether you smoke, it will give you the next steps.

“Anyone who chooses ‘yes’ in the consent form will be directed to call our health and wellness team to speak with a health coach,” explains Ziller. “You’ll then have the option to continue calls with the health coach or complete an online learning module.”

Both options are designed to help you succeed in your goal to quit smoking. “Health coaches can help you work through the physical and emotional effects of quitting smoking with personalized sessions,” says Ziller. “We’re here to help you be as healthy as possible and reach all your health goals.”

Ready to get support from a Geisinger health coach in reaching your health goals — whether that’s quitting smoking, losing weight or something else? Call 866-415-7138.

Next steps:

What is health coaching, actually?
Already a GHP member? See member benefits and services
Still not convinced? Here are 5 things that happen to your body when you quit smoking.