More than 7,000 people across the state participated in the second year of the Quit 2 Win contest, which ended Wednesday.
"It is difficult to track the total outreach for Clay County, or any county, due to the various outreach opportunities like phone calls, faxes, online registration and mail-in cards," Clay County Tobacco Coalition Director Kandace Brown said. "However, this year has been more successful than last year, when 5,000 people signed up."
Brown added there has been a dramatic drop in the number of Indiana smokers because of a number of factors.
"Particularly in the last 10 years, the tax increase on tobacco products and the heightened awareness on overall health has contributed to the decrease in smokers," she said. "It also helps that smoking cessation programs have become more prevalent."
The percentage of Hoosiers who smoke is 24 percent, which is down 10 percent from the 1980s, but Brown said the rate is higher than the national average and lower than only six other states.
She credits area smoking cessation classes as being a huge help in reducing the number of smokers in Indiana.
"Smoking cessation classes provide longer and more intense support than our Quitline can," Brown said.
"The Quitline is good to have immediate contact and counseling, but we always recommend callers to participate in local programs because the best help is hands-on with local involvement."
She added the Quitline has received approximately 300 calls per week during the 2008 fiscal year and each caller also receives access to two weeks worth of cessation products like nicotine gum or patches.
Clay County Health Department Part-Time Staff Nurse Linda Messmer leads the local smoking cessation program, which currently has two 12-week classes running simultaneously.
Brown said the Tobacco Coalition and programs like Messmer's are working hard to assist residents wanting to quit smoking to help those with a goal of having a smoke-free environment.
"We still have a lot of work to do," she said. "Linda is working diligently to reach those who want cessation help while the coalition is here to help support their efforts and educate the public on the dangers of second-hand smoke and spit/spitless tobacco.
For more information about the Quit 2 Win contest, visit www.in.gov/inshape/2702.htm, or for more information about area smoking cessation programs, contact the Clay County Health Department Office at 812-448-9019.