Quit It! Free Smoking & Vaping Cessation Class Available

CFMC Grants at Work: IU Health Morgan

Written By: Robin Reid, Storyteller

Do you have a family member or friend who smokes? Did they try to quit, but found themselves picking up a cigarette just a few days later despite your support? If so, it’s not too late for them to try again with help from the Community Foundation of Morgan County (CFMC) and Indiana University (IU) Health Morgan.

Anyone who wants to quit smoking or vaping can sign up for IU Health Morgan’s QUIT IT Program and it’s FREE. As a participant, they’ll also have access to FREE nicotine replacement therapies (i.e. patches, gum, lozenges), thanks to a Capacity Grant funded by CFMC.

Please call (765) 349-6736 to sign up for the classes. You can also find information on IU Health Morgan’s Facebook page.

CFMC recognizes that Indiana ranks high among all 50 states for smoking-related illnesses and financially supports the life-transforming work at IU Health Morgan.

“I believe one of the biggest factors of our success has been the funding from CFMC,” said Missy Maristela, Manager of Rehabilitation and Wellness Services for IU Health Morgan. “If people don’t have the money or don’t know where to start, they’re not going to quit.”

The QUIT IT program is six weeks of classes designed to educate, equip and engage smokers, smokeless tobacco users, and vapers. IU Health Morgan Respiratory Therapist Kelly Lee and Occupational Therapist Krystal Loomis saw the need for such a program and brought it to Maristela’s attention.

“The need for this class became our passion as most of our patients use tobacco products and have slower healing times because of it,” said Loomis.

In a 2018 report by the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, Indiana ranked eighth among all 50 states for the highest number of adults who smoke every day (15.8%) and ranked tenth for the number (50) of lung cancer deaths per 100,000 people.

Smokeless tobacco is just as harmful as cigarettes or vaping. (Image provided by Quit Now Indiana)

“We have a large population of folks who have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and/or asthma. Many of them grew up in homes where one or both of their parents smoked,” Lee said.

Loomis and Lee have taught two QUIT IT sessions so far this year with a total of six clients. They’ve already seen success as two class members are tobacco-free and another one told them last week they had quit more than a week ago. “Everyone in the class had cut their intake down by half,” Loomis added.

“Our goal is to make sure our clients have all of the tools and resources they need to continue the path towards becoming tobacco-free. We never expect people to quit within six weeks. We had two who did and that’s very powerful to us,” Maristela said.

Because IU Health’s Rehabilitation and Wellness Services include various disciplines such as respiratory, physical and occupational therapy, as well as nutrition support and substance abuse treatment, patients have quicker access to the care they need instead of having to wait for referrals.

“By having all the different disciplines together, we can make a greater impact on our community,” added Maristela.

When someone enrolls in QUIT IT, they have instructors who present facts in a non-judgmental environment and provide encouragement, tools, and resources that clients can use to make healthier choices.

“We don’t use scare tactics, because they don’t work. Everyone knows that cigarettes are harmful. Until a person has a meaning, purpose or thought behind the decision, they’re not going to quit,” said Loomis. “In our classes, we see that people with good support systems and who understand how their tobacco use is harming others and themselves are the ones most likely to quit successfully.”

During the first two weeks of the program, clients complete worksheets to help them identify a solid support system and the triggers that make them want to smoke, chew tobacco or vape. These triggers include emotions such as fear or stress and patterns like smoking a cigarette while talking on the phone, watching television, or during a lunch break. An IU Health Morgan Dietician is also in the class for the first week to recommend healthier choices for ‘kicking the habit,’  such as making healthy snacks and preparing meals in advance.

“We also teach them meditation and breathing strategies to help reduce their cravings. Women have told us their triggers are emotional, so we encourage them to not just go outside to get away from the stress, but to take a walk around the block,” Loomis added.

Before the end of the six weeks, clients have the option to try Nicotine Replacement Therapy. Lee and Loomis work with on-site pharmacists who determine the appropriate dosages for each client based on their tobacco usage. These free products are available for a limited time only.

When clients complete the program, they receive information about Indiana’s Tobacco Quitline, which provides free 24-hour phone-based counseling and texting (Text2Quit®) services. “Having a support system is huge. We try to take out as many barriers as we can. We want people to know they’re not alone,” said Loomis.

You must register to participate in the QUIT IT Program. Please call (765) 349-6736 to sign up for the classes.

CFMC is proud to partner with IU Health Morgan to help individuals quit their tobacco habit. For more information about CFMC’s grants, go to www.cfmconline.org, or send an email to info@cfmconline.org.

CFMC’s mission is to connect donors and their charitable giving with our evolving community needs in order to enhance the quality of life for current and future generations through impact grantmaking. The vision of CFMC is to be the philanthropic leader and a catalyst in order to maximize available resources in our community.

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