LIMA — To combat smoking addiction throughout the region, Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center — working with Activate Allen County and Ohio Northern University’s HealthWise Mobile Clinic — will be offering a new smoking cessation program that supports individuals trying to kick the habit.
Activate Allen County Co-Director Kayla Monfort said the program is a way to provide information and resources to those 62% of smokers who have attempted to quit the cancer-causing habit.
“They’re trying to at least go a day or more without using tobacco products. And we really need to support them in that effort. So this is one way we can do that is providing easy access to do that without having cost be a factor, without having transportation be a factor, etc.,” Monfort said.
The program, funded by a $100,000 grant provided by the Bon Secours Mercy Health Foundation, will provide support services over a 12-week program meant to ease the transition to a non-smoking lifestyle.
Tyler Smith, manager of community health for Mercy Health, said those that qualify for the program are provided a one-on-one consultation followed by six weekly meetings and six weeks of phone support. Patients will also receive a week’s worth of free nicotine patches after each weekly meeting.
County Health Rankings data provided through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimates that one in five residents in Allen County smoke, which is high when considering the national average.
Monfort said vaping, especially among young people, has also inflated the number of people who are getting addicted to dangerous substance abuse.
“So we really do want to, again, think about how we can combat tobacco, vapings and cigarettes in general,” Monfort said.
Individuals who are interested in joining the Activate Change-QUIT program, which kicks off this month, are encouraged to call 419-996-5633, selection option 2, and leave a voicemail.
A second option to join the program is also being rolled out by the ONU HealthWise Mobile Clinic starting April 21. At that time, the mobile clinic will be parked outside of the West Ohio Food Bank, 1380 E. Kibby St., every Tuesday from 9 to 11 a.m. extending through the end of May. The fourth and final Tuesday will have hours from 9 a.m. To 2 p.m.
Individuals can access the same services at the mobile clinic as those at Mercy Health’s Medication Management Clinic, Monfort said, by talking with a tobacco treatment specialist on site.
“We are thankful for Bon Secours Mercy Health Foundation for bring this to our community because it is such a need,” Monfort said. “We’ve been looking at this for quite some time as far as cessation services, so we are happy to be a part of it.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.