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May 30, 2013

Health Department Helping Battle Nicotine Addiction

Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, 12.1% of Scotland County residents currently smoke cigarettes and 1.8% use smokeless tobacco. In an effort to further reduce tobacco use, the Scotland County Health Department has partnered with Preferred Family Healthcare to provide free tobacco quit classes for residents trying to end their addiction to nicotine.

Thanks to funding from the Missouri Foundation for Health, Scotland County residents have the opportunity to take part in the American Lung Association's "Freedom from Smoking" program online from the comfort of their own home at times convenient for them. During seven, 1-hour sessions, participants gain knowledge about his or her smoking habits and triggers, create a quit plan tailored to their individual smoking habits, and learn about lifestyle changes to stay smoke free. Topics include stress management, assertive communication, physical activity, and nutrition. Unlike other programs, participants aren't asked to quit until session four.

This opportunity is totally free of cost. In addition to the course, participants receive a "Freedom from Smoking" workbook and either $100 worth of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (patch, gum or lozenge) or, if quitting "cold turkey", a $50 gift card to any sporting goods store of their choice. All classes are taught online by a trained facilitator. Justin McDermott, facilitator and Tobacco Cessation Coordinator at Preferred Family Healthcare stated, "This program has the potential to make a positive impact on the residents of Scotland County, we're excited to make this opportunity available." For more information or to sign up, simply email or call 660-665-1962 Ext. 667.

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