New Steuben program will help smokers quit with the web, texting

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013 | Ray Finger | Categories:
New Steuben program will help smokers quit with the web, texting

The Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition is launching a program next month that uses web conferencing and texting to provide support for smokers who want to quit.

Quit and Stay Quit Monday involves weekly remote group counseling sessions via web conferencing and quitting tips that are texted to participants’ cell phones.

The program is expected to begin July 15, said Beverly Butts, public health education coordinator for Steuben County.

“If I have a group of people for whom that is not convenient, then I would try to set up a second group, or an alternative to Monday at noon,” she said.

The program was developed by the Monday Campaign, an organization involved in promoting Monday as a good day for targeting health behaviors, said Morgan Johnson, director of research and program development for the Monday Campaign.

“One of the barriers to tobacco cessation in STTAC’s coverage area was that people were having a hard time coming to meetings,” she said. “People are very spread out in the area. It’s a little more rural, and a lot of people have working hours that aren’t conducive to doing meetings with the health department.”

Steuben County has no established smoking cessation programs, Butts said, noting that she has been directing people to a program at Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira.

Monday was chosen for web conferencing because research has shown tobacco quit lines get a huge volume of calls on that day looking for information, Johnson said. Those calls taper off by the end of the week, she said.

Tips on quitting will be texted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, she said.

Butts said she eventually may offer as many as three web conferences a week, and partners in other counties would offer it on different days

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