Last chance to get help to quit smoking

Published 9:36 am Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quitting is never easy — for smokers, that is.

Adults in Lawrence County who smoke but want to quit can now get help through a research partnership between The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Public Health, Lawrence County Health Department, and OSU Extension in Lawrence County.

This partnership — called the OSU Quit Smoking Project — will provide one-on-one support and up to eight weeks of nicotine patches for 60 adult smokers in Lawrence County. The goal has almost been reached.

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We still need 14 individuals to reach our goal of 60 participants. So call today.

To participate in this project, smokers need to be: resident of Lawrence County; 18 years or older; no recent, major health issues; daily smoker; and not pregnant. Men and women can participate.

People must also be willing to try to quit in the next month by using one-on-one support and nicotine patches, which will be provided free of charge as long as they remain in the study.

The purpose of the study is to find out how effective one-on-one support and patches are for smokers in the Appalachian region of Ohio. Participants will be asked a set of questions before they start the project, and 3, 6, and 12 months later.

It is important for participants to stay in the study for 12 months, whether they quit smoking or not.

Participants will receive a small gift card after each data collection to thank them for their time.

Lawrence County is one of six counties in Ohio Appalachia selected to participate in this project over the next several years, in part because of high rates of smoking.

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.

This study is funded by the National Cancer Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. Mary Ellen Wewers, PhD, MPH, obtained the funding and leads the project at the OSU College of Public Health.

Nancy Hood, also at the OSU College of Public Health, manages the project. Two long-time Lawrence County residents are the local project staff: Grace Zornes is the lay health advisor and Cathy Burt is the interviewer.

Georgia Dillon and myself at the Lawrence County Health Department support the lay health advisor in delivering the program. OSU Extension staff in Lawrence County helps with outreach and recruitment.

Anyone interested in participating should call Grace Zornes at (740) 616-9158.

Maxine Lewis is the health educator at the Lawrence County Health Department. She can be reached at (740) 532-3962.