Smokers offered help to quit on annual Great American Smokeout

Nov 12 2012 - 10:18pm

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Standard-Examiner file photo
The Great American Smokeout will be held on Thursday. Top of Utah health officials offer support to any tobacco-user who desires to quit on a permanent basis.
Standard-Examiner file photo
The Great American Smokeout will be held on Thursday. Top of Utah health officials offer support to any tobacco-user who desires to quit on a permanent basis.

CLEARFIELD -- The annual Great American Smokeout, when smokers across the country set aside tobacco for a day in hopes of permanently quitting, is set for Thursday.

But Top of Utah public health officials are offering support to any tobacco-user who desires to quit tobacco on a permanent basis.

"If you have a family member who is trying to quit, begin by offering your support," said Gloria Sawyer, a Community Health Educator for the Davis County Health Department. "Remind them that two people are stronger than one, and that you are there to help."

Families can offer support by being positive and talking about the benefits of quitting rather than just the risks of smoking, and by being prepared for difficult moods or providing information about helpful medications, Sawyer said in a prepared statement.

Kids can help by making a personalized quit kit for mom, dad, grandpa or grandma.

"The quit kit might include pamphlets, sugar-free gum, low-calorie snacks like carrots and fruit, distractions such as games or puzzles, cards, notes, drawings or photos and a treat like movie tickets for the first day," Sawyer said.

"Many smokers strongly associate smoking with drinking alcohol or coffee, or a neighborhood hangout," Sawyer said.

Friends can help smokers avoid temptation by planning activities that vary from the normal routine or by sending cards or notes to encourage quitting, she said.

"Employers also can help tobacco users quit and have a financial incentive to do so," Davis County Health Director Lewis R. Garrett said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, employers can save an average of $1,300 in lost productivity and health costs for each employee who quits smoking.

Encourage employees to quit by sharing information about cessation benefits that are available through the company's health plan and by encouraging employees to consider quitting as a group, Garrett said.

Weber-Morgan Health Department, in conjunction with The American Cancer Society and Ogden/Weber Applied Technology College student services, will offer quit kits and tobacco cessation kits Thursday on the ATC campus as part of a tobacco prevention awareness campaign, said Lori Buttars, health department public information officer.

The department, in partnership with the Northern Utah Coalition, also offers Nicotine Anonymous, a free, weekly class that offers support to those in the community who have quit or are thinking of quitting tobacco, she said.

The meetings, which follow the 12 steps adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous by the international Nicotine Anonymous organization, are at 6 p.m. Friday at New Zion Baptist Church, 2935 Lincoln Ave. in Ogden.

"There is a real need for this in our community," said Sarah McClellan, project coordinator for the nonprofit Northern Utah Coalition. "Many people want to quit smoking, but they have a hard time taking that next step."

For more information on Nicotine Anonymous, call 801-393-4153 or 801-726-3909 or email nuc536@comcast.net.

For free smoking-cessation resources, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit utahquitnet.com.

To have a Davis health official speak to your group about strategies to quit smoking, email gyugel@daviscountyutah.gov or call 801-525-5072.

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