JUNEAU – The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is making The American Lung Association’s Freedom from Smoking® program available to Juneau community members who are ready to quit tobacco.

The free, seven-week program begins Thursday, October 26, at 5:15 pm and will be held at the same time each Thursday at SEARHC’s Behavioral Health Building through December 7. Developed by the American Lung Association, the program helps participants learn strategies and skills to overcome their tobacco addiction and become non-smokers for life in a small group,  interactive learning environment.

Quitting tobacco is hard. Many people try to quit multiple times before they quit for good. Some refer to it as practice, as there is something new to learn from every attempt. This program is not about doing something easy; it is about doing something that works. In fact, the program’s statistics show that people who complete the Freedom from Smoking® program are six times more likely to stay smoke-free one year later than those who quit on their own.

Those wondering if the Freedom from Smoking® program is right for them should consider these questions: Do you want to quit? Is quitting a priority for you? Have you tried to quit before? Do you think smoking is bad for your health? Do you have other personal reasons for quitting? Are you ready to quit even though it may be tough?

Answering “yes” to just one of those questions means the program could be extremely beneficial.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in Alaska, causing nearly 600 deaths each year. In fact, tobacco use causes more deaths in our state each year than suicide, motor vehicle crashes, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, homicide and HIV/AIDS combined.

Quitting tobacco not only improves health, but it also saves money. Putting away the money that once went towards tobacco can add up fast and serve as a personal reward for overcoming this challenging addiction. There are hundreds of great reasons to quit tobacco—what matters most is finding your own, and seeking the support you need to be successful.

For additional program details and registration information, call SEARHC Tobacco Program Health Educator, Leah Neff Warner at 364-4549 or leaht@searhc.org.