Free smoking cessation program launched

The Jackson County Health Department has launched a new smoking cessation program.

That coincided with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout on Thursday.

The program, funded by the Indiana Healthy Opportunities for People Everywhere, aka I-HOPE, initiative in partnership with the Indiana University School of Public Health and Center for Rural Engagement, provides a novel approach to motivate behavior change through carbon monoxide monitoring and is part of a larger effort that seeks to reduce smoking and smoke exposure in rural southern Indiana.

People who smoke have a higher risk of severe symptoms caused by respiratory-related illness, such as COVID-19. Secondhand smoke exposure also increases the risk of respiratory problems in nonsmokers, including children.

Since the prevalence of smoking is higher in rural areas and quit rates are lower, this smoking cessation program is designed to address these disparities.

The Jackson County Health Department will offer the free intervention in combination with Freshstart, the American Cancer Society’s quit smoking program.

Freshstart consists of four one-on-one sessions with a trained specialist, held during a four-week period. The program also provides nicotine replacement therapy options. Together, these approaches will offer comprehensive support for individuals who wish to quit smoking.

People interested in enrolling in the program can call the health department at 812-522-6474 during business hours and ask for the public health educator.

The two-year I-HOPE initiative is deploying teams across the state to facilitate community-level conversations and develop strategies to address the factors that prevent people from living their healthiest lives. The work examines longstanding risk factors as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Hoosiers’ health.

The effort is being funded by a $34.8 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This program is supported by funds made available from the CDC Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, under NH75OT000073.

The IU Center for Rural Engagement improves the lives of Hoosiers through collaborative initiatives that discover and deploy scalable and flexible solutions to common challenges facing rural communities. Working in full-spectrum community innovation through research, community-engaged teaching and student service, the center builds vision, harnesses assets and cultivates sustainable leadership structures within the communities with which it engages to ensure long-term success.

The Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington offers top-ranked academic programs that prepare students for challenging careers preventing disease and promoting wellness in communities everywhere. Unique in the nation, its multidisciplinary programs, history of engagement and emerging strengths bring new energy to the traditional concept of a school of public health.

Its innovative research is grounded in rigor, reproducibility and transparency. With nearly 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 150 faculty in five departments, the faculty and students conduct research, learn, teach and engage across the spectrum of health and quality of life.

The mission of the Jackson County Health Department is to protect the public health and the environment in which we live, recognizing the practice of public health is vital to all individuals and their collective well-being. The agency promotes the best achievable scope and quality of health services for the county’s citizens via the provision of services, education and explanation of health care regulations.