Feb. 5-9 is Quit Week in Tennessee. The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department understands the difficulty of quitting smoking or smokeless tobacco and offers the following resources.
“Find a personal reason to quit that works for you, like protecting your children’s health, better health for you, or saving money,” says Health Department Tobacco Prevention Coordinator Paula Collier. “Develop a quit motto like I deserve to be smoke free! Begin to see yourself not smoking or chewing.”
The free and confidential Tennessee Quit Line connects participants with two weeks of nicotine replacement patches and a masters-level trained tobacco addiction counselor. The counselor won’t tell participants what to do but rather will help them develop a quit plan that works for their lifestyle. Call 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUIT-NOW).
For pregnant women who smoke, the Health Department offers the Baby & Me Tobacco Free program. Enrolled moms who remain tobacco-free during their pregnancy and during the first year postpartum will receive a $25 diaper voucher per month for the first year of baby's life (a total of $300/year). Call 209-8320 for more information.
Making oneself accountable to others greatly increases their chances, said officials. Share a quit plan and quit date with family and friends. The Health Department’s Tobacco Cessation Resource Guide lists local cessation classes where participants can begin their journey with other like-minded smokers.
Make an appointment with a healthcare provider and include him or her in the quit plan. Ask if medication-assisted cessation is right for the individual. If a healthcare provider, ask patients about how you can help them quit and help them overcome the obstacles to doing so.
Motivational author Roy T. Bennett says, “It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down. All that matters is you get up one more time than you were knocked down.” Quitting smoking is hard and may require several attempts. Bringing multiple resources into a plan greatly increases the chances of quitting. For example, in addition to the Quit Line, also join a cessation class, share the quit plan with family, discuss with a health care provider, and use the patches or medication if they are right for the individual. The bottom line: Never stop quitting, said officials.
For more resources to help quit, visit the Health Department’s Tobacco Prevention and Education page, or call 209-8285.