Health Department

Quit for the New Year

Quit for the New Year

By Larry D. Jones, MPH, Health Director

December 26, 2011

It’s that time of year again where we start thinking about our New Year’s resolution and a plan to meet our goals. I’m sure most of us pick the usual suspects: losing weight, saving money, and to quit smoking. Wouldn’t it be nice to make 2012 the year that you stop smoking? Let’s start the year off right with the Freedom from Smoking class offered by the Independence’s Health Department.

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. Each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million have a serious illness caused by smoking. Did you know that secondhand smoke can increase a child’s chance of developing asthma and being more at risk to illnesses? Smokeless tobacco, cigars, and pipes also have deadly consequences, including lung, larynx, esophageal, and oral cancers.

Despite these risks, approximately 46 million U.S. adults smoke cigarettes. In Missouri alone there are more than 963,000 adults who smoke. Missouri also ranks 40th out of 50 when it comes to highest smoking rates.

Many people have tried to quit on their own and have not succeeded. The relapse is due mainly to not knowing how to properly quit. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that to successfully quit smoking you enroll in a class or support group and use nicotine replacement therapy.

When a smoker quits smoking after three months you will notice improved circulation and your lung function will increase by 30 percent. After nine months of quitting, coughing and sinus symptoms will decrease and the cilia (hairlike projections which help to move mucus out of the lungs) grow back in the lungs. And after one year of quitting your risk of heart disease is cut in half!

The Independence Health Department is here to help people who want to quit smoking and make a healthier life for oneself.

Starting Tuesday, January 3, the health department will start the Freedom from Smoking class. The class’s sessions focus on knowing and avoiding your triggers, using positive reinforcement, dealing with stress, understanding and coping with withdrawal symptoms, rewarding yourself and preventing relapse. Emphasis is on long-term freedom from smoking.

The six-week class starts January 3 and will meet from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday at the Truman Memorial Building, 416 W. Maple. Preregistration is required and can be made online at or at the Independence Health Department, 515 S. Liberty.

For more information call 325-7185.