Group encourages smokers to quit with 'Smokeout' event

IUKA – Thursday’s Great American Smokeout will feature a giveaway at Subway restaurants in Prentiss County.
The two restaurants in Booneville and the restaurant in Baldwyn will give a free 6-inch regular Subway sandwich between 11 a.m. And 2 p.m. to anyone turning in a pack of cigarettes.
This event is one way the Mississippi Tobacco Free Coalition of Prentiss and Tishomingo Counties is working to spread the word about the dangers of smoking and of secondhand smoke, said coalition coordinator Melissa Nash.
The group will present two more antismoking events before yearend, she said, including a Nov. 30 “Living Better @ NEMCC” for college students.
Most smoking cessation programs, including one offered at no charge at North Mississippi Medical Center-Iuka, are geared toward adults, said Renee Holcomb, children’s case manager for Region IV Timber Hills Mental Health Center and Iuka Elementary School.
A program recently implemented for court-supervised adolescents, which is sponsored by the American Lung Association and Mississippi Department of Health, offers a new approach, she said.
“It’s a fairly comprehensive program that relies heavily on journaling, and includes addressing habits, triggers and behaviors,” Holcomb said. “This is information they may not be getting elsewhere.”
Although the services being provided now are to youths mandated by the courts to enroll, Holcomb said training as a group leader in the program does not require a mental health background.
Schools and other organizations in a community could obtain the training through the American Lung Association to expand services available to preteens and teens, she said.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal