Health department highlights tools during ‘Quit Week’

Published 4:22 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Across the state, health departments are partnering with community members to help stomp out the flames of tobacco and nicotine addiction.

Tennessee Department of Health officials recently announced that the state’s annual “Quit Week” would be held this week — Feb. 5-9 — and be used as a way to renew “the call to each and every Tennessean to be part of our state’s celebration of Tennesseans who have quit using tobacco products and inspire more people to join them.”

Over the course of the week, health departments are taking time to promote the various tools available to help combat tobacco usage, including free resources like the Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine.

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“It is really is an important time of the year, especially on our end, because our main goals are to promote prevention and quitting different products,” said Jaime Lawson, health educator at the Carter County Health Department. “We want to help light that spark for someone who wants to stop using products, and there are so many different resources available. The QuitLine is such an important tool and is free to use.”

In the county, health department members have implemented multiple programs available to the public. Along with partnering to host “Freedom For Smoking” classes, the department typically joins with Carter County Drug Prevention and other organizations for educational and fun activities for the community.

One of the key programs that have netted results with the department has been the “Baby & Me, Tobacco Free,” Lawson said. The program, offered by the department, allows parents to receive incentives to steer clear from tobacco and nicotine-induced products.

State officials have noted a significant drop in youth using tobacco products. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the percentage of youth reported using tobacco products has decreased 16.7 percent, down from 21.7 percent from two years ago.

“Tennessee’s youth are getting the message that tobacco use of any kind is bad for their health, and that’s great news,” Michelle Fiscus, MD, FAAP, deputy medical director for Chronic Disease Prevention, Injury Prevention and Health Promotion in TDH, told the Elizabethton Star in an emailed statement. “Surveillance finds 9.4 percent of high school students report currently using cigarettes, less than half the rate of use in 2011. Tennessee’s youth-led tobacco control movement, TNSTRONG is leading the charge to achieve Tennessee’s first tobacco-free generation.”

Members of the Carter County TNSTRONG Board are actually partnering with the health department county drug prevention on different programs, Lawson said.

Individuals looking to use the resources available can either contact the local health department or call the QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.