A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Great American Smokeout is first step (start with day one) then choose a program that works for you

By Maridith Yahl
NKyTribune health reporter

Quitting smoking and tobacco products is hard. That is why the Northern Kentucky Health Department (NKHD) is teaming up with the American Cancer Society (ACS) for the Great American Smokeout on November 19. The program is to encourage tobacco users to come up with a plan to quit. Quitting smoking takes time and a plan.

“You don’t have to stop smoking in one day. Start with day one,” says the ACS

The Great American Smokeout has been hosted by the American Cancer Society for over 40 years. The idea spun from an event in Massachusetts in 1970 when a community member asked people to quit smoking for one day. With their savings from not buying cigarettes, they were to donate it to a local high school scholarship fund. It eventually went nationally when individual states began to have their own smokeout day.

Over 32 million adults smoke in the U.S., according to the ACS. It causes 1 out of every 5 deaths worldwide, the leading cause of death in the world. The ACS recognizes the addictive power of nicotine as being one of the strongest and deadliest. That is why they have this day, to come up with a plan. Using proven cessation methods and having support makes quitting more likely to be successful.

The NKHD has multiple resources to help develop the best plan to successfully quit. A good resource to start with is the quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW. The phone number is for those 18 and older but youth can call as well and will be connected with the appropriate help.

“They’ll get connected for free with a quit coach who will help them create a quit plan and then tell them how they can go about getting nicotine replacement,” says Breanna Williams, Health Educator, NKHD.

She says it is a good, well-rounded program.

Breanna Williams

Youth can access My Life, My Quit for help. This website is a free and confidential resource for teens to get help to stop smoking or vaping. Teens access a coach who works with the teen to create a quit plan and are helped through the entire process.

Until the end of December, Kentucky residents can have access to a free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) Program. The NKHD partnered with seven local pharmacies, where residents have access to gum, patches, or lozenges. Having a choice in the quitting method, makes the program personalized as to what works best for each individual. No paperwork or doctor’s referral is needed, just let the pharmacist know you are interested in the free NRT program through the NKHD.

Freedom From Smoking is a cessation program provided by the American Lung Association the NKHD facilitates. For adults, this is a group meeting, virtually with the NKHD, or in-person at St. Elizabeth. This group is geared on how to quit since most are aware of the negative effects.

Call the NKHD at 859-341-4264 extension 2158. This is another program where a trained facilitator leads, but participants can also get support from those going through the same process.

Youth have a similar program called “NOT On Tobacco.” This too is a virtual group session led by a trained facilitator. The program gives guidance on how to quit and helps develop a plan best for you.

“I’m sure they have all kinds of emotions [about quitting],” says Williams.

Having the support from others the same age is invaluable. Youth call 859-341-4264 extension 2158 to get connected.

“There are different things that work for different people,” Williams says.

The best plan for quitting is the one that works for you.

Reach out and take advantage of the variety of free resources. You do not have to do this alone.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment