News & Views

Kicking the Habit?
Kentucky wants to help

The Kentucky Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program hopes Kentuckians will vow to be healthier in 2005 with a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking. The results of numerous surveys indicate that two thirds of all smokers say they would like to quit smoking and nearly half of all smokers try to quit smoking each year.

“Our hope is that people will think about the effects tobacco is having on their health and give some serious consideration to quitting,” says Irene Centers, Program Manager. “A New Year’s Resolution to stop smoking is the first step to a healthier future.” Within 20 minutes after you smoke that last cigarette, your body begins a series of changes that continue for years. She reports:

20 Minutes After Quitting
Your heart rate drops.

12 hours After Quitting
Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

2 Weeks to 3 Months After Quitting
Your heart attack risk begins to drop.
Your lung function begins to improve.

1 to 9 Months After Quitting
Your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.

1 Year After Quitting
Your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.

5 Years After Quitting
Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker’s five to 15 years after quitting.

10 Years After Quitting
Your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker’s. Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases.

15 Years After Quitting
Your risk of coronary heart disease is back to that of a non-smoker’s.

Kentucky leads the nation in the number of adults who smoke, 30.8 percent, according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The state rate for teens that smoke is 34 percent, and the percentage of women who smoke during their pregnancy is 24 percent.

Tobacco use and dependence is the leading preventable cause of death in Kentucky and the nation. Nearly 8,000 Kentuckians die annually as a result of tobacco related disease.

“It’s important to remember that this is more than just numbers,” said William D. Hacker, Commissioner of the Department for Public Health. “These people are our friends, neighbors and family members, they should not suffer and die of diseases that could have been prevented.” Health organizations and health departments across Kentucky and the nation are gearing-up to assist smokers who want to begin 2005 tobacco-free. If you think kicking the smoking habit sounds like a New Year’s resolution worth pursuing-the state’s Department for Public Health wants to help:

You can contact the Tobacco Control Coordinator in your local health department about local resources to help you reach your goal. Programs like Cooper-Clayton combine nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) with group support over a 13-week period to help smokers quit.

For information about smoking cessation or someone to talk to when the conviction to quit waivers; call 1.800.QUITNOW (1.800.784.8669). Callers will receive the most up-to-date information about programs offered in their area as well as brief intervention and cessation information on the phone.

Another option is online smoking cessation programs. Log on to to reach the American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking. A new Health and Human Services web site,, offers online advice and downloadable information to make cessation easier.

For online information about the Cooper/Clayton Method to Stop Smoking, visit A link from this site leads to information about a self-help version of the Cooper/Clayton program.

For more infor, about the Kentucky Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program, log onto or contact Irene Centers at 502.564.7996, extension 3808. n