Groups ready to help smokers quit

According to studies, cigarette smoking can be as just as addictive as alcohol, heroin or cocaine - and just as harmful.

It can be a hard habit to break.

"Most people can't quit the first time they try," said Beth O'Connor, the Mohave County Department of Health and Social Service's smoking cessation coordinator.

The Mohave County Tobacco Use Prevention Program (McTUPP) will step up its efforts to offer smokers encouragement and help in kicking the habit during Tobacco Use Prevention Week, the second week of Kingman Drug Free Month.

"We are doing everything we can to help people quit," O'Connor said.

"In Arizona overall, from 1994 to 1999 we saw a 21 percent reduction in the prevalence of adult smokers.

We are definitely seeing a reduction in smokers.

Studies aren't in yet, but we are pretty sure the percentage of young smokers, 17 years old and younger, is also going down."

McTUPP and the Kingman Youth Coalition Beating Up Teen Tobacco (KYCBUTT) will distribute free Quit (smoking) Kits.

They will be distributed at Mohave Community College campuses and the Dambar & Steakhouse on Thursday - the day that has been designated American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout.

Also on that day, the Dambar & Steakhouse dining room will be completely smoke free.

The kits will also be available during the week at all Mohave County libraries and the Del E.

Webb Wellness & Rehabilitation Center.

Students with KYCBUTT will also pass out the kits to students, teachers or parents who want them, at Kingman High School during the week.

The kit contains smoking cessation aids and information.

Free classes and free Nicoderm patches are also available through McTUPP.

Call 753-0794 ( ext.

4217) to pre-register for classes on Nov.

21 and Nov.

30.

The classes seat 35 people, O'Connor said.

Free sessions with a substance abuse counselor, David Reamy, are also offered through McTUPP.

Call 692-5100 to make an appointment.

"A lot of people quit on their own and they don't know how to handle the nicotine cravings," Reamy said.

Reamy said a support group, or counseling is a good idea, and that the programs that have had the best success have included Zyban, the first non-nicotine product approved by the FDA for smoking cessation.

"Zyban is an anti-depressant.

The side effect is that it seems to reduce the need for nicotine," he said.

"The best results seems to be with people who have worn the patch, have taken Zyban and have received some counseling to reinforce the desire to stop smoking."

The Arizona Smokers Helpline offers free and confidential one-on-one telephone counseling, as well as fact sheets, self-help materials and referral services.

Professional counselors at the Helpline have been trained in tobacco-use cessation to provide counseling to adults, pregnant women and teens in both English and Spanish.

The toll-free number is 1-800-556-6222.

The McTUPP program in Kingman is located at 318 Fifth St.

The telephone number is 753-0794 ( ext.

4217).

"Kingman Drug Free Month is a campaign to remind the community that substance abuse takes many forms and it's up to all of us to take action against it," said Lisa Kelly, coordinator of the Kingman Drug Free Alliance.

Susan Williams, Pauline Steel and Sgt.

Ben Renton of the Mohave County Sheriff's Office have formed a steering committee to target a different substance each week and coordinate Remember November activities during the month.

Nov.

19 through 25 is Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Week and Nov.

26 through Dec.

2 is Alcohol Abuse Prevention Week..