Smoking...Gone in a Puff

June 2, 2006 -- 6:50 PM CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- For some people, having a smoke is an everyday ritual, but help has arrived in Region 8 for those who want to quit.

"It has to be their decision to quit," said Amy Williams of the Arkansas Tobacco Cessation Network.  "If you don't want to change, and that's with anything, then you're not going to."

The network offers a six week program that smokers can attend if they need help to kick the habit.

"We take any level of readiness," she said.  "I have people who come in and join the program just for the support, because they've quit for two weeks...all the way up to, 'I'm just thinking about quitting, and I need some help...I need some help getting to that point,'" she added.

Getting to that point is not hard at all.  For those smokers who want the help, Williams suggested coming into her office to complete a questionnaire.

"That way I can know more about your environment, all about your tobacco use, when you started and how much you smoke a day," she said.

Arkansas tops the list when it comes to tobacco users.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 100 Arkansans die each week from a tobacco-related illness, and Williams wants to bring that number down.

"What we're here for is the habit part, dealing with the mental part of the tobacco use," she said.

Dealing with the mental challenges can be the hardest part for some smokers when they're trying to quit; but with programs like this, the battle is made easier.