With implementation of the indoor smoking ban looming, Fresh Air Fulton once again is offering its free smoking cessation program, this time in conjunction with the Callaway County Health Department.
Starting in January, Callaway County residents can sign up for an eight-week program to help them kick their tobacco habit, including free nicotine gum and patches, and periodical counseling sessions.
"We're just here to help as a resource," Fresh Air Fulton organizer Amanda Stevens said.
Stevens explained that the grant her organization received through the Missouri Foundation for Health is paying for a full-time person at the health department whose sole responsibility is working on smoking cessation strategies and programming.
"We have partnered with a couple of businesses to do group cessation at their work sites, we have partnered with some local physicians (to assist with the program), and people can also come to the health department," Stevens said. "It's completely ongoing and open - people can register at any time."
She encouraged any Callaway smokers to participate, pointing out the new indoor smoking ban in Fulton as a new motivator that makes this the perfect time to try to quit.
"We're just hoping to help people with the new ordinance, and also with the new year coming up, you also get lots of people making resolutions to stop smoking," Stevens said.
Fulton resident Vicki Dye said Fresh Air Fulton's smoking cessation program helped her quit after years of unsuccessful attempts.
"I thought the program was wonderful," Dye said, noting proudly that she has not had a cigarette since she started the program July 6. "I think it was successful because of the combination of them helping you out with products and the meetings - having them to bounce back and forth on how you're feeling.
"It was a wonderful group of people; they were very knowledgeable and they were there for you all the time. It was a great program; I would definitely recommend it. For me, this is the only thing that actually helped."