The Rapides Foundation’s Healthy Behaviors Initiative addresses important health behaviors including tobacco use, overweight/obesity, and substance and alcohol abuse prevention. The work in tobacco prevention and control began in 2008 and consists of multi-faceted approaches designed to decrease tobacco use among adults and prevent young people from ever starting.
In 2014, a new strategy was added when the Foundation’s Cenla Medication Access Program partnered with the Smoking Cessation Trust to offer cessation counseling to eligible tobacco users from the nine parishes served by The Rapides Foundation. As a result of the partnership with the Smoking Cessation Trust, more than 300 Central Louisiana residents have been referred to CMAP, where they obtain free cessation counseling plus medicine to help them quit. Studies show that a smoker's chances of quitting for good are higher when receiving personal counseling in addition to cessation medications.
How it works:
The Smoking Cessation Trust is the result of a court judgment in a class action lawsuit that ordered certain tobacco companies to fund a statewide, 10-year smoking cessation program to benefit all Louisiana residents who began smoking cigarettes before September 1, 1988. The only program of its kind in the United States, the Trust began enrolling members in 2012 with hopes of helping 210,000 Louisianans become smoke-free by 2022.
Central Louisiana smokers are urged to Apply Now. Once the smoker’s information is submitted, the judge assigned to the Trust reviews the person’s qualifications and, if it is determined they meet the requirements, are added as members of the Trust. Tobacco users who are not eligible for the Trust services are referred to the state Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) for counseling.
Central Louisiana residents will receive their counseling from CMAP’s Certified Tobacco Training Specialist, who will meet with the smoker individually to determine a plan of action. After the initial assessment, the smoker attends six group-counseling sessions, where the specialist works with smokers on the various strategies and motivations to help them quit for good.
If the smoker needs medicine to help them quit, the specialist will work with their doctors, who will write a prescription for the agreed-upon cessation medication. In addition, the specialist gives the smoker a prescription card provided by the Trust. These cards are used to obtain the medicine for free at major retail pharmacies