Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tobacco Treatment Specialist celebrating 100 'quits'

Evon McKim received her “Certificate of Quitting” from Jim Brawner after completing Brawner’s Tobacco Cessation Class and conquering her smoking habit.

More than 100 people are breathing better and living healthier lives thanks to the work of Mayo Clinic Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist Jim Brawner. Brawner, who teaches Tobacco Cessation Classes at Cox Medical Center Branson, celebrated his 100th “quit” at the end of one of his summer classes.

Brawner taught his first Tobacco Cessation Class in April 2013.

“Through these classes, I have had the opportunity to help change lives,” he said. “If you help one tobacco user, you help the lives of those who live with them and around them.”

Brawner explained that he has witnessed the compound effect that came from helping one couple quit, which then led to three of their family members quitting as well.

“By helping someone quit, you increase not only their health, but their income -- a win-win,” he said. “That family of five that quit had spent more than $250,000 collectively in their past on tobacco use. They are thriving and not just surviving.”

Forsyth resident Evon McKim understands what it means to thrive and not just survive.

McKim, who had smoked for years, was able to quit once before. Following a divorce and the loss of her father however, McKim soon found herself using cigarettes to cope. Since McKim and her husband, Ray McKim, reunited he has been encouraging his wife to give up her tobacco habit for good.

“When I quit the first time, I just sat them down and walked away,” she said. “This time, I couldn’t do that. I wanted to though.”

Her husband, a truck driver, had told his wife she could ride along with him on his trips across the country only after she quit smoking. That is when Evon McKim turned to Brawner and signed up for the eight-session Tobacco Cessation Class. With Brawner’s help, Evon McKim was able to quit her tobacco habit and now she’s happy to be traveling with husband this summer.

“I owe a lot to Jim,” she said.

Evon McKim is not only getting to travel and spend time with her husband, but she’s feeling better too. She’s swimming daily and breathing easier.

The next Tobacco Cessation Class begins Monday, Aug. 24, at 3 p.m. in Branson. On Monday, Sept. 14, a morning session and an evening session will also begin in Branson. The class is $80 and scholarships are available. Call 417-348-8498.

For information about Tobacco Cessation Classes in Springfield, call 417-269-4847 or in Monett, call 417-354-1100.