Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is offering the community a proven program to help people quit smoking.


The complimentary program, called Beat the Pack®, was developed by Pfizer Inc. and is sponsored by Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land. The next four-week series is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. on July 13 on a virtual platform.


Participants will meet virtually each Wednesday for four weeks in July/August with a trained facilitator who will provide tools, tips and support to help smokers create and follow through with a personalized “quit plan.”


“Studies show that close to 70 percent of smokers in the U.S. want to quit,” said Amy Sebastian-Deutsch, director of oncology and infusion services at Houston Methodist Sugar Land. “But it typically takes a smoker between six and 11 attempts to successfully quit. Beat the Pack is a proven program that can greatly increase those odds and make it easier to give up cigarettes for good.”


Even long-term smokers can benefit from quitting. “The health benefits of quitting begin almost immediately and continue indefinitely,” said Sindhu Nair, M.D., board-certified hematologist oncologist with Houston Methodist Oncology Partners at Sugar Land. “Within months, former smokers will have improved circulation and reduced blood pressure, enhanced oxygen flow, the return of taste and smell and less coughing and colds. After a year, their risk of heart disease will be reduced by half. After 10 years of living without cigarettes, the risk of heart attack or cancer is similar to that of someone who never smoked.”


In 2015, a thorough compilation of more than 50 smoking cessation studies that included more than 25,000 participants found that combining behavior support in a group setting with medication provides the best results.


“It isn’t easy to quit, and certainly it is more difficult to do so by yourself,” said Sebastian-Deutsch. “Beat the Pack provides all the tools and support needed, and it does so in an informative, friendly atmosphere that offers encouragement and camaraderie.”