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Health department offers class to help with positive changes

April 21, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Health Department is inviting people to learn how to make positive changes in their lives.

The department is offering a program geared toward people who are interested in quitting smoking, but those who are not ready to quit can benefit, said group facilitator Paula Ernst.

The program is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 28 at Asbury United Methodist Church.

Ernst will lead the discussion and suggest ways to make change easier.

"I'd like to see folks there who may not plan to quit smoking," she said.

There are seven stages of change that can apply to any type of life transition, from beginning an exercise program to altering eating habits.

Change begins with contemplation and preparation, she said.

Often people make changes in their lives without proper planning, which can discourage them.

"That's what happens to a lot of people when they try to make a change," she said.

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Ernst developed the program based on an addiction model developed by University of Maryland Baltimore County professor Carlo DiClemente.

To encourage people to attend, there will be a drawing with $10 gift cards as the prize.

The program is a kickoff for a new round of Stop Smoking for Life classes to be held at the church May 5 to 29.

Len Mosby of Hagerstown will lead the classes twice a week. Morning and evening sessions are available.

Mosby said 20 percent of the people who sign up for his classes end up quitting smoking with the help of free nicotine patches paid for by Maryland's Cigarette Restitution Fund.

The program is provided by a grant from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

For more information, call 240-420-1796.

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