“This program is highly structured, offering a systematic approach to quitting, and focuses on behavioral change. Also, the program teaches participants how they can maintain these new, healthier behaviors for long-term success,” said Larry Didier, Tobacco Programs Coordinator for the Winnebago County Health Department. To help with the physical addiction to nicotine, the program offers free or very low-cost nicotine replacement products such as patches, gums and lozenges. These products are complementary to the behavioral goals of the program. They greatly enhance the program’s overall effectiveness and directly address both the addiction and the habit of smoking.
A registration fee of $35 is requested, but is not required from those who cannot pay. If a participant quits smoking by the end of the seven classes, their $35 will be returned to them. “More than 100 people in Winnebago County have participated in the program throughout 2010, and more than two-thirds of them report being tobacco-free weeks and months after they have completed the program,” added Didier. A large number of these successful ‘quitters’ have asked that their fees be retained by WCHD to help more people quit smoking. The support participants receive from one another in the class is primary key of their success in quitting smoking.
The financial support for this program comes from a grant received from the Illinois Department of Public Health.