Fulton County residents who are considering quitting tobacco use now have a new option for support.
The peer support program pairs tobacco users with a trained local peer mentor who has successfully quit using tobacco. Peer mentors are trained to share their own quit journey and engage community members to increase their readiness to quit.
When a participant is ready to take the next step and quit using tobacco, mentors will refer them to an evidence based cessation program, such as the Ohio Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, to help them move forward and maintain their quit.
“Quitting tobacco is hard,” said Beth Thomas, director of the Community Education and Engagement division at the Fulton County Health Department. “Many users quit several times before quitting for good.”
The health department’s 2019 Fulton County Health Assessment indicated that 49% of adult tobacco users want to quit using. “We believe a peer mentorship program, facilitated by former tobacco users, is the boost needed to help our residents quit tobacco,” Thomas said. “We are thankful that we have community members who are willing to share their tobacco quit stories to help others improve their health.”
The peer mentorship program was created in partnership with the FCHD and Healthy Choices Caring Communities. It is part of the county’s ongoing Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Grant funded by the Ohio Department of Health. Peer mentors will utilize virtual platforms, phone calls, and email to reach out to participants.
Anyone interested in being paired with a peer mentor or wanting additional information about the program can email HC3Partnership@gmail.com or contact Thomas at 419-337-0915.
Healthy Choices Caring Communities is a group of community members working together to prevent and reduce youth use of alcohol and other drugs in Fulton County.