Attention, Jefferson County smokers who want to quit

Trying to kick the habit?

Adults in Jefferson County who smoke but want to quit can still get help through a research partnership between the Ohio State University College of Public Health and OSU Extension in Jefferson County.

This partnership – called the OSU Quit Smoking Project – will provide telephone support and up to eight weeks of nicotine patches for 60 adult smokers in Jefferson County.

To participate in this project, smokers need to be:

— A resident of Jefferson County;

— 18 years or older;

— Have no recent major health issues;

— Be a daily smoker; and

— Not be pregnant.

Both men and women can participate.

People also must be willing to try and quit in the next month by using telephone support and nicotine patches, which will be provided free of charge as long as they remain in the study.

The purpose of the study is to find out how effective telephone support and patches are for smokers in the Appalachian region of Ohio. Participants will be asked a set of questions before they start the project as well as three, six and 12 months afterwards.

It is important for participants to stay in the study for 12 months, whether they quit smoking or not.

Participants will receive a small gift card after each data collection to thank them for their time, according to a project spokesperson.

Jefferson County is one of six counties in Ohio Appalachia selected to participate in this project over the next several years, in part because of high rates of smoking in Appalachia.

According to the 2008 Ohio Family Health Survey, 34.4 percent of adults in Jefferson County smoke. In comparison, the statewide smoking rate in Ohio 2008 was 20.1 percent.

The study is funded by the National Cancer Institute, which is part of the National Institute of Health. Mary Ellen Wewers obtained the funding and leads the project at the OSU College of Public Health. Amy Wermert and Julianna Nemeth, also at the OSU College of Public Health, manage the project. Janine Yeske, Extension educator at OSU Extension Jefferson County, helps with outreach and recruitment.

Goldia Smurda is the lay health advisor and interviewer from Jefferson County conducting the local project.

Anyone interested in participating can contact Smurda at (740) 314-2498.