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The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline Encourages Tobacco Users to Take the Great American Smokeout Challenge

OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 15, 2016) – Tobacco users are encouraged to participate in the Great American Smokeout (GASO) challenge on Nov. 17, and experience the benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle, if only for a day. GASO is an annual event that supports a day-long cessation effort, which can be the first step toward a healthier life.

“GASO is the perfect time to learn more about the Helpline and get tips and tools that can help you quit tobacco your way,” said Paola Klein, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline coordinator. “Many people plan a quit date around the New Year, and this is a great time to try out a mini-quit or just think about beginning your tobacco-free journey. The Helpline is here to offer nonjudgmental support to anyone thinking about quitting, whether it’s for one day during GASO or if you’re ready to quit for good.” 

This year, the Helpline will host a Facebook event, which will bring together an online community of those who choose to take on this personal challenge. In the days leading up to the Great American Smokeout, preparation will start with mini-quits, training the body and mind to develop the skills needed to manage cravings and maintain the course for a tobacco-free life. Get additional tips and tools by virtually attending the event. Follow the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline on Facebook to learn more.

“I called the helpline, and they sent me patches,” said Marilyn, an Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline user from Muskogee. “It's hard. Trust me. But if you really want to quit, you can do it no matter what! Keep your faith, stand your ground and don't give in. After quitting, my tastes buds have changed, my breathing is better, and my sense of smell is a lot stronger than before. Just amazing how your body changes once you stop smoking.”

According to the American Cancer Society, after just 20 minutes of being tobacco free, blood pressure decreases and pulse rates drop. Within 24 hours of quitting, the chance of a heart attack decreases. Within one year of quitting, the risk of coronary heart disease is lowered to half that of a tobacco user. Plus, annual savings could total nearly $2,700 by not purchasing tobacco products. 

For many tobacco users, quitting — even for just a day — can feel impossible. But by quitting for an hour here and there, they can build up endurance. As hours, days and even weeks add up, quitting goes from feeling impossible to something quite possible.

The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, funded by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, or TSET, provides FREE services to help tobacco users quit their own way. These services include free text and email support, phone and web coaching, patches, gum, lozenges and more for registered participants. Registrants can talk to personal Quit Coaches about their individual needs, choose from a variety of services and get started on the path toward a tobacco-free life.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to quitting tobacco. However, the Helpline’s evaluation results show that those who work with a Quit Coach™ and use the full range of services available have the best chance of quitting. The Helpline supports tobacco users even if they’re just thinking about quitting.

To learn more about the services offered by the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline and to speak with professional Quit Coaches, call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit OKhelpline.com. Connect with the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline through social media by liking the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline on Facebook or following @OKhelpline on Twitter and Instagram. Find more quitting tips at http://okhelpline.com/start-small-finish-big/. Great American Smokeout participants are encouraged to use the hashtag #GASO.

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The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is a free service for Oklahomans wanting to quit tobacco. Funding is primarily provided by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), in partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Oklahoma Employees Group Insurance Division and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline has served more than 300,000 Oklahomans since 2003 and was ranked the top quitline for reaching tobacco users seeking treatment in FY2013 by the North American Quitline Consortium.

The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives across the state by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public’s health. TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health. To learn more, visit www.tset.ok.gov.