FGH Wellness center offers tobacco free help - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

FGH Wellness center offers tobacco free help

By Kevin Wheeler - bio | email 

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - For tobacco users tobacco use statistics can be scary, but for many, stopping smoking is too hard.  The Forrest General Wellness center is one of 27 sites across the state offering a free tobacco cessation program.

"Our goal is to make tobacco treatment accessible to any Mississippian who might want to use our program," said Karen Crews, Director of the Act Center for Tobacco Treatment.

The program is a six week program initiative that focuses on intensive group counseling.   The participants also get free medication. The program is funded through appropriations as well as grants.  State legislators say the benefits are well worth it.

 "Taking a proactive step to preventive medicine will save us a lot of money on the back end and create healthier lifestyles," said Rep. Toby Barker.

 "The better health every one will maintain, the better off the whole state will be," said Rep. Harvey Fillingane.

 The participants work with a certified tobacco specialist.  Crews said the program is difficult, but it's proven to work.

 "We know that if we can teach people or work with them and help them to learn how to become a tobacco free individual that it has a more lasting affect," said Crews.

 The Forrest General Wellness center has offered the program for six years.  They are targeting 500 people to become tobacco free in 2010, which they said shouldn't be a problem.

 "It's really been a success for people, they come in and we have a waiting list, and we usually have people just eager to come in," said Forrest General Wellness Center coordinator, Sheri Ezell.

 Program officials say once the cessation program is completed the participants will hopefully be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

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