by Diane Snell
For 20 years, the American Lung Association's "Freedom From Smoking" program has been a successful tool for those wishing to kick their habit.
It has been offered as a seven-week clinic or as a self- help manual. Now, thanks to state money received through the tobacco settlement fund, West Virginians who smoke will have a little easier time accessing the program.
Rose-Ann Prince, of the West Virginia office of the American Lung Association, said a grant obtained from tobacco settlement money will enable 150 people to be trained to offer the clinic throughout the state.
Another great benefit of the tobacco settlement grant, according to Prince, is that the 46-page "Freedom From Smoking" self-help manual can be given -- at no charge -- to those requesting it.
The self-help guide consists of seven modules, each dealing with smoking-related issues that can be completed privately, at a person's own pace.
Prince said about half the people who attend the clinics are able to quit smoking and stay off the habit. Between 11 percent and 21 percent of those who use the self-help programs are able to quit smoking, Prince said.
Also new to the American Lung Association is the "Freedom From Smoking Online" program campaign. This interactive, on-line program designed to help smokers quit smoking was launched Feb. 14. As with all "Freedom From Smoking" programs, the computer version is based on developing positive behavior change and building a support network. The program can be found at www.lungusa.org.
The benefit of "Freedom From Smoking Online" is that it's free and there are no waiting lists as with some clinics, Prince said.
Smoking-related diseases claim an estimated 430,700 American lives each year. The mission of the American Lung Association, Prince said, is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health.
For information on any of these smoking cessation programs, contact the American Lung Association, West Virginia office, at (800) Lung-USA, or (304) 342-6600.