The Health Department is sponsoring a Smoking Cessation Class which centers around nicotine replacement techniques and behavior modification.
The nine-week course, which begins on Monday, July 23 from 4-6 p.m., provides support and information to those who want to quit smoking.
"The psychological addiction is just as great as the addiction to the nicotine itself," part-time staff nurse Linda Messmer said.
Those attending the class will learn techniques to curb their need to smoke based on their individual need.
"What may work for one person may not necessarily work for another person," Messmer said. "The important thing is to replace the routine patterns in which someone smokes with a different behavior."
Classes will be once a week on Mondays and, with the exception for the first meeting, will last about an hour to an hour-and-a-half. The class is also free, but a written prescription from a Clay County physician is needed to register for the class.
"Since we provide the nicotine patch and gum, we need to make sure that the person's health will not be at risk before handing out the supplies," Messmer said.
The Nicoderm CQ patches will be distributed in a step-down method, regressing down from 21 mg to 14 mg and finally to 7mg. The Nicorette gum will be provided in two strengths, at 2 mg and 4 mg. However, unlike previous courses, the patches and gum will not be given out from the start.
"The first two weeks of the class will be spent helping prepare smokers to quit," Messmer said. "The gum and patches will be distributed beginning the third week of the class, and are at no cost as well."
The increasing cost of cigarettes is a large reason why smokers are choosing to quit, although many also decide to quit for health concerns.
"Approximately 9,800 Hoosiers die each year from smoking-related diseases," Messmer said. "Before the recent 44-cent tax hike on cigarettes, studies have shown that the average smoker saved $3,391 a year after quitting."
Attendees of the class will also have their weight and blood pressure checked at every meeting, and Messmer says being at every class helps increase the chance of quitting successfully.
"The most successful cases are those who attend all nine of the classes," she said.
"We find that someone is twice as likely to quit for good when they are at every meeting, compared to those who miss a couple of the classes."
The location of the classes is still up in the air.
Depending on the amount of people who register, the class will either be held at the Clay County Health Department Office at 1214 E. National Ave., or at Bethel United Methodist Church at 924 E. Pinckley in Brazil.
All those interested in the class are encouraged to register by July 19.
For more information on the class, or to register, contact the Health Department Office at 812-448-9019.