Quit-smoking classes begin Jan. 11 at health department

• $35 registration fee requested, but not required from those who cannot pay; fee returned to those who quit smoking during course

Staff Report

Everyone knows smoking is dangerous, unhealthy and increasingly costly. It continues to be this country’s No. 1 cause of preventable death — leading to one of every five deaths in the U.S.

At 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 11, the Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) will begin a series of 90-minute classes to help people stop smoking. The smoking cessation program consists of seven weekly sessions providing education, support and encouragement to help people end their addiction to tobacco products.

Classes will be in Room 221 at the WCHD’s facility at 555 N. Court St., Rockford.

The program is unique because it moves past the why people should quit and emphasizes how to quit. It focuses on issues like: making a plan for quitting; reducing or tapering off your use of tobacco products; identifying your smoking triggers; dealing effectively with the emotions and stress of quitting; and, most importantly, adjusting your behaviors to deal effectively with your smoking habit and then maintaining those healthier behaviors over a long period of time — truly quitting for good.

This program is highly structured, offering a systematic approach to quitting, and focuses on behavioral change for long-term success,” said Larry Didier, Tobacco Programs coordinator for the WCHD.

To reduce problems associated with nicotine addiction, the program offers very low-cost (based on ability to pay) nicotine replacement products such as patches, gums and lozenges. These products complement the behavioral goals of the program, and focusing on both is essential for long-term success in quitting.

A registration fee of $35 is requested, but is not required from those who cannot pay. If a participant quits smoking by the end of the seven classes, their $35 will be returned to them.

Hundreds have participated in the program, and more than two-thirds of them report being tobacco-free after completing the program,” added Didier. “The support participants receive from one another in the class is a primary key of their success in quitting smoking.”

To register, or for more information, call the Tobacco Programs coordinator at (815) 720-4269.

From the Jan. 4-10, 2012, issue

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