Five County Focus: Smoking Cessation classes

by Gina DeMent, Public Information Officer
Five County Mental Health Authority

Your New Years Resolution may include the decision to quit smoking and the Freshstart Smoking Cessation Program may be just the program to help you along the way.

Freshstart is a brief, four-session program of around one hour per session and was developed by the American Cancer Society. It is usually held twice a week for two weeks. Tuesdays and Thursdays are often good days. The program and related materials are FREE to participants.

Each participant receives their own workbook, which has a number of different activities and follow through exercises. Some of these exercises are conducted during class time and others can be completed between sessions. A brief description of each session is as follows:

Session 1 entitled “ Understanding Why and How” looks at how nicotine dependence or addiction happens and what keeps people smoking even though they may want to quit. A short screening is completed during class to help participants identify the various reasons that each of them smoke. Discussion is held on health benefits and other benefits to quitting smoking, and participants learn of methods to assist quitting including use of gum, the patch and other medications.

Session 2 entitled “Mastering the First Few Days” looks at withdrawal symptoms and learning methods to handle withdrawal symptoms. Discussion includes identifying stressors, stress management techniques and relaxation exercises.

Session 3 entitled “ Mastering Obstacles” looks at various obstacles that may hinder quitting or return people to smoking. Discussion is held on barriers to quitting or staying quit such as weight gain, diet and exercise and how family, friends, coworkers and those around you can help support or sometimes hinder your quitting.

The final session entitled “Staying Quit and Enjoying it Forever” looks at long-term health benefits of quitting. Participants identify when would be their most high-risk times for smoking. A plan is developed to ensure that the participant remains smoke free by identifying cravings and relapse signs.

If you would like to find out when the next series of Freshstart will be held in your county, contact Anne Williams, Prevention Specialist at 252.430.3077 or email her at