MOUNT VERNON — For many Americans, January is the time to make new resolutions that will improve their lives. If your New Year’s resolution is to quit smoking, the Knox County Health Department can help you put it out for good.
The Knox Out Tobacco cessation program begins Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. in the health department conference room. The program consists of weekly classes and offers free counseling and free nicotine replacement therapy to combat with the addiction to tobacco.
“Quitting tobacco is one of the top New Year’s resolutions,” said Mike Whitaker, a certified tobacco treatment specialist with the health department. “It’s also one of the toughest things to do. We offer a proven treatment plan that has helped more than 500 people quit using tobacco.
“To be successful, it is best if you are quitting because you, yourself, want to, not because someone else wants you to quit,” explained Whitaker. “We find that people are less successful at quitting when it is someone else’s idea. You’ve got to want to do this for yourself, first, and secondly for your spouse or your kids or your grandchildren.”
This year’s cessation program is made possible by United Way of Knox County. The Ohio Department of Health stopped funding cessation programs two years ago and the local health department has sought local funding to keep the successful program going. The Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County helped with funding last year.
The Knox Out Tobacco program is on-going; people can join the program any Thursday night just by attending a class. Pre-registration is not necessary. Nicotine replacement patches are distributed on a weekly basis. The program is open to those who smoke tobacco and those who chew tobacco. It is designed to help participants quit their tobacco use within a six to eight-week timeframe.
“When you combine the classes and nicotine replacement therapy, you have a better chance of quitting,” said Whitaker. NRT includes nicotine patches, gum or lozenges. “The classes are more like a support group,” said Whitaker. “We give you techniques to help you quit and make suggestions on how to handle the withdrawals and triggers. Class participants share what works for them and talk about their struggles.”
If you are someone who does not like group sessions, one-on-one counseling is available.
Tobacco cessation classes are held every Thursday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Knox County Health Department at 11660 Upper Gilchrist Road, across from the radio station. For more information about the Knox Out Tobacco cessation program, contact Whitaker at the health department at 392-2200, ext. 2233, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published on January 12, 2012