Study helping county kick the habit

Published 10:27 am Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A new research study in Lawrence County is offering help to those who want to kick the habit.

The Ohio State University College of Public Health, Lawrence County Health Department and the OSU extension office in Lawrence County are looking for 60 participants to join a smoking cessation program that is being conducted in Lawrence County, as well as five other counties in Ohio Appalachia.

The OSU Quit Smoking Project will provide one-on-one support and eight weeks of free nicotine patches to participants.

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“They have to want to quit smoking to come to this program, because we’re not going to try and talk them into (quitting),” said Grace Zornes, lay health adviser for the study. “We want to try and help them through the rough patches.”

To join the study, Zornes said that participants must be a resident of Lawrence County, at least 18 years old, must not be pregnant, must be a daily smoker and must not have major health issues.

She also said that participants must also be willing to try to quit within four weeks of beginning the study.

Zornes said the study, which is funded by the National Cancer Institute, is important because it will help determine effective ways to assist people in their attempt to quit.

According to the 2008 Ohio Family Health Survey, 37.1 percent of adults in Lawrence County smoke. In comparison, the statewide smoking rate in Ohio in 2008 was 20.1 percent.

During the course of the study, participants will meet with Zornes for one-on-one counseling sessions. The first three sessions are weekly, with the remainder occurring every other week. After the initial sessions, participants would check in after three months, six months and 12 months.

“Even if they have gone back to smoking, we still want to know what their thoughts are,” said Zornes.

During the sessions, Zornes said that she and the participants would discuss the effects of smoking and ways to cope with the urges.

“We will talk about the poisons added to the cigarettes to make it takes better, the effects it has on you and the people around you, how the nicotine effects to brain,” she said. They would also talk about the risks of cancer and other diseases and the monetary cost of smoking.

“I give them things to do instead of smoking, she also said. “Get a hobby, because a lot of the smoking is the oral fixation. Find a hobby to keep your hands busy. When they are feeling ill or irritable, or moody or blue, I give them deep breathing exercises, stress management.”

Zornes said that participants would be compensated with a small stipend. She said that participants would initially receive a $25 gift card, then a $10 gift card after three and six months, and another $25 at the end of the study. They would also receive eight weeks of nicotine patches.

“It’s something I really believe in,” Zornes said about the study. “I used to socially smoke, and I think I almost got hooked at one time, but it dawned on me that if I didn’t quit playing with them, that I would. I haven’t smoked a cigarette in years.”

To sign up for the study, contact Zornes at 740-616-9158.

“If they are interested in having the help to quit smoking, we’re here for them” she said.