By Crystal Thompson
The HELP (Havre Encourages Long-range Prevention) committee is encouraging local Montanans to make quitting tobacco one of their key New Year's resolutions.
According to newly-elected President of the HELP Board, Jennifer Hoffman, the new year is a great time to make the important decision to stop the use of tobacco products.
"The new year is the perfect time to quit as we all make a commitment to improve our lifestyle and health. Overcoming a tobacco addiction is the most important choice for people who smoke or use smokeless tobacco products," Hoffman said in a recent press release.
Currently, tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. According to the HELP Committee, more lives are lost to tobacco each year than to alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined. Registered Nurse Cindy Smith, Director of the Hill County Health Department and member of the HELP Board said that over 1400 deaths in Montana each year are attributed to tobacco use.
"'I'm going to quit' should be the phrase on every tobacco user's lips this new year," Smith said.
The HELP Committee announced that the Governor's Advisory Council on Tobacco Use Prevention has identified funding of the state's new Tobacco Quit Line as a top priority in the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention 5 year plan. The Montana Tobacco Quit Line provides free telephone counseling, support materials, and links to local resources throughout the state to tobacco users. Quit Line staff are trained to identify a caller's readiness to quit and to motivate them to act on it.
"Part of their job is to help people recognize where they are on the road to becoming tobacco-free, and help them to find the next step," said Tim Solomon, Hill County Sheriff and Montana Law Enforcement Representative to the Governor's Advisory Council on Tobacco Use Prevention.
The HELP Committee encourages everyone to make the choice this year to become tobacco free. With the newly implemented programs throughout the state, it is easier now more than ever to find the support you need to quit tobacco.
The Montana Tobacco Quit Line takes calls Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Quit Line number is 1-877-612-1585.
For more information on making January 1st the first day of your tobacco-free life contact Stacie Haas, RN, HELP Tobacco Prevention Coordinator at 265-6206.