Montgomery County residents who are interested in quitting tobacco products are encouraged to take advantage of free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) offered now. The Montgomery County Wellness Coalition encourages citizens to contact the Kansas Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for access to the free NRT.

A free two-week regimen of NRT will be available to all callers while supplies last, offered in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)'s Tips from Former Smokers campaign that began in April.

Montgomery County has an adult smoking prevalence rate of 21.6 percent according to the 2015 Kansas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Of Montgomery County adults who smoke, 60.4 percent tried to quit smoking at least once in the past year and were unable to. Quitting smoking not only benefits the health of the smoker, but also helps to protect loved ones from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure.

"We want people to know that, although quitting tobacco is hard, they can do it," said Marci Roberts, Chronic Disease Risk and Reduction coordinator. "Smokers often need to make several quit attempts before succeeding, but proven treatments and services are available that can improve your chances to quit for good."

Some former smokers tout quitting "cold turkey" - stopping all tobacco use at once - as the most effective way to quit but the evidence-based answer suggests all forms of nicotine replacement therapy increase smoking cessation rates by about 150 to 200 percent.

Forms of NRT include nicotine gum, transdermal patches, sprays, inhalers and lozenges. No single replacement therapy is most effective for all smokers, but a Cochrane Review found that 17 percent of smokers who had used NRT successfully quit at follow-up versus 10 percent of smokers in the control group not using NRT. 

The Kansas Tobacco Quitline is a free, 24/7 resource available to Kansas residents in their journey to quit smoking. The Qutiline provides help such as counseling, a personalized Quit Plan and quitting support via phone and online services. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit www.KSQuit.org.