Kathy Welsh

Kathy Welsh

BREWSTER – The Putnam County Department of Health is kicking off the New Year right—offering residents an opportunity to kick their smoking habit.

'Freedom from Smoking' Program Begins Jan. 31

Didi Raxworthy, director of the Center for A Tobacco-Free Hudson Valley, right, provided technical assistance to health educator Alexa Contreras, from the Putnam County Department of Health, who is the American Lung Association-trained facilitator leading the Freedom From Smoking sessions. Photo provided

The free, eight-session Freedom From Smoking (FFS) program will be held on Wednesday evenings, starting on Jan 31, at 6 p.m. at the Health Department’s Main Office at 1 Geneva Road. Each session lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. Two sessions will be held during the fourth week of the program, which is “quit week,” on Wednesday, Feb 21, and Friday, Feb 23. The last class is on Mar 14.

The group leader is a FFS/American Lung Association-certified facilitator from the health department, who starts the sessions talking about preparing and planning to quit. The Center for a Tobacco-Free Hudson Valley provides additional technical assistance with training on the program that involves lifestyle changes that support tobacco-free living.

Each person’s experience with quitting smoking is different.

The Freedom From Smoking program uses proven activities and tools to help participants understand their own relationship with tobacco—and how to have a smoke-free life. Nicotine replacement products (NRT) such as the patch and gum will be available, also for free, while supplies lasts.

Using NRT is encouraged, and will be discussed in detail as part of the program, but it is not required.

'Freedom from Smoking' Program Begins Jan. 31Widely regarded as the gold standard in quit-smoking programs, the FFS program was created by the American Lung Association, an organization with more than 50 years of experience helping smokers quit.

Some smokers feel hopeless after unsuccessful attempts at quitting. The FFS Program recognizes these feelings are part of the journey to become a non-smoker and stresses the fact that most successful quitters have failed at it before.

The program reinforces the greater belief no matter what setbacks you have had in the past, you still have the power to quit.

Pre-registration is required, as group size is limited.

More information on the program can be found online at www.freedomfromsmoking.org.

For more information or to pre-register, contact the Putnam County Department of Health at (845) 808-1390, ext. 43155.

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