(BLOOMINGTON) – The Indiana Tobacco Quitline is offering tobacco users free medication to help them quit tobacco use. The nicotine replacement therapy promotion is available now and ends when supplies run out.
IU Health Community Health encourages the use of free medication to help reduce smoking in Monroe County. In addition, Community Health offers free classes for both adults and youth and works with high school administrators to emphasize close monitoring of student tobacco use.
In 2017, IU Health Community Health in Bloomington was granted $90,000 to help with tobacco cessation efforts. Not only did it provide resources for promoting the Tobacco Quitline, but it also supported the assessment of how tobacco is marketed to youth in local retail outlets.
“Overall, the goal was to lower the percentage of youth and adult users,” says Patricia Colon, Tobacco Cessation Coordinator for IU Health Community Health. Despite a concentrated effort to deter smoking, Monroe County is trending at 19 percent smokers or one-in-every-five adults. She believes the grant – now in its third year – has seen its greatest rewards among the youth population.
“We work with the school administrators, encouraging the enforcement of stricter rules regarding tobacco use, particularly the monitoring of e-cigarettes,” she says. While e-cigarettes were initially, and are still marketed as a safer alternative to combustible cigarettes, the number of chemicals in most of the e-cigarettes are not providing good outcomes, Colon adds.
The grant has also provided resources for classes in area high schools and at IU Health Community Health, 333 E. Miller Dr. In addition, Community Health provides additional tobacco cessation classes for adults, where the use of nicotine replacement is encouraged.
“Nicotine replacement is very helpful and sought out by many adults,” Colon says. In the last year, nearly 7,500 Hoosiers received a free two-week supply of nicotine replacement therapy through the Quitline.
To take advantage of the free offer for medication, tobacco users must enroll in the Indiana Tobacco Quitline, which provides a trained coach who will work with them to make a personalized quit plan. Online counseling is also provided. Once enrolled, users will receive a two-week supply of free medication, including gum or patches.
Take the first step toward quitting smoking and get free help by calling the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or by going to QuitNowIndiana.com. To learn more about an IU Health Community Health class to help you stop using tobacco, call 812-353-5811.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. Approximately 22 percent of Indiana adults smoke, and smoking kills 11,100 Hoosiers each year. More than 330,000 Hoosiers live with smoking-related diseases.