Free smoking cessation classes offered as part of statewide initiative

Nearly one in four Tennesseans smokes cigarettes, and too many are sick or dying because of it.

That’s why Gov. Bill Haslam has proclaimed Feb. 22-26, 2016, as “Tennessee Quit Week” – and why Summit Medical Group has joined other health care organizations across the state in supporting the new smoking cessation campaign led by the Tennessee Department of Health’s Statewide Tobacco-Free Coalition. The campaign is titled “It’s Quittin’ Time in Tennessee.”

Summit Medical Group serves more than 250,000 patients across 12 counties in East Tennessee. Approximately 12 percent, or 30,000, of these patients are reported smokers. Fortunately, 21,000 of them say they are interested in quitting.

“We must give them the tools and resources they need,” Summit Medical Group CEO Ed Curtis said. “The tobacco cessation campaign emphasizes the importance of teamwork with health professionals to help smokers quit. Summit Medical Group can attest to the success of that approach. That’s why we’re opening our free smoking cessation classes to the entire community – you don’t have to be a Summit patient to participate.”

Through its business partner, Summit Strategic Solutions, Summit Medical Group offers free registration in the Freedom From Smoking class led by American Lung Association-certified instructors. This six-week series has produced a cessation rate three times higher than the national average.

In the spirit of the statewide effort, Summit Strategic Solutions will extend the free registration of its smoking cessation classes to non-patients. Classes will be offered starting in March and April across East Tennessee:

  • Jefferson City: TN Valley (located inside Tennova Jefferson Memorial Hospital) starting March 4
  • Oak Ridge: Summit Medical Group of Oak Ridge (801 Oak Ridge Turnpike) starting March 11
  • Greeneville: Summit Family Medicine Greeneville (1404 Tusculum Blvd, Building MOB 3, Suite 3100) starting March 22
  • Sevierville: King Library (408 High Street) starting April 4

 

Smoking contributes to heart disease, stroke and lung cancer and is the leading cause of preventable death in the state. Yet, the smoking rate in Tennessee is 24.3 percent, exceeding the national rate of 18 percent. And sadly, the average age to start smoking in Tennessee is just 11.

“This initiative is critical to the health of our state,” Curtis said. “Smokers who quit can add up to 10 years to their life expectancy, while currently tobacco claims 30 lives every day in Tennessee. Quit today. If you’re not a smoker, encourage a family member, friend or colleague to stop.”

To learn more about “It’s Quittin’ Time in Tennessee,” call the Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW to speak with a counselor or visit www.tnquitline.org

For more information about classes and registration, please call Health Education at 865-212-2281 or email at healthed@summithealthcare.com.