Oklahoma City, OK – It’s time to quit, Oklahoma. Tobacco kills more than 7,500 Oklahomans every year. To save lives, Jan. 18-25, 2023, has been declared as Quit Week in Oklahoma in an official proclamation signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt. The decree kicks off OK to Quit, a campaign to help people quit using tobacco products.
Dozens of hospitals, businesses and organizations across the state participate in the annual mission. Their goal is to encourage people to stop using tobacco and raise awareness about the tools and resources available to help them quit.
“Tobacco use still remains the single, largest preventable cause of disease and death in the Oklahoma,” said Oklahoma Hospital Association President Patti Davis. “Tobacco users are dealing with an addiction. On top of that, they’re trying to change a behavior and a habit that they have likely engaged in for more than half their life. Thankfully, there are free resources available to help empower individuals to take their life back from smoking and quit for good.” (STORY CONTINUES BELOW)
Combining counseling and medications can more than double the chances of quitting successfully. Adding combinations of both long-and-short-acting nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches and gum, increases the chances of a successful quit attempt even further. Quit lines, smartphone apps and text messaging programs have also helped people quit. Your provider can prescribe stop smoking medications that will help reduce cravings and increase your chances of success.
Talk to your doctor today and find out what tobacco treatments are available for you. If you don’t have health insurance, there are still resources that are available to you. In fact, free quit coaching and support to help tobacco users navigate their quit journey along with a free two-week supply of gum, patches, or lozenges is available to any Oklahoman through the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, 1-800-QUIT NOW.
The OK to Quit campaign also addresses the youth e-cigarette epidemic. The FDA and CDC estimate that more than two and a half million teenagers use the nicotine-filled products that can harm the developing adolescent brain. Experts say using nicotine in adolescence may also increase the risk for addiction to other drugs in the future.
OK to Quit is a grassroots social media campaign. Through positive messages posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, tobacco users can not only get access to the resources they need to kick the habit, but they can also receive motivational support. Persons interested in talking to a local primary care physician regarding tobacco cessation efforts may contact Kelly Willingham at the Oklahoma Hospital Association for coordination (405-427-9537). The OK to Quit task force is a collaboration of professionals at the Oklahoma Hospital Association, Norman Regional Health System, SSM Health St. Anthony, OU Health, Comanche County Memorial Hospital, INTEGRIS Health, and Guiding Right.