Smoking ends over 438,000 lives per year – and every death it causes is preventable. The American Lung Association's Freedom From Smoking (FFS) program has helped hundreds of thousands of adult smokers take back their lives through proven skills and techniques for quitting. First introduced nationwide in 1981, FFS has since been celebrated as America's gold standard in cessation programs.
This past year, the American Lung Association in Kentucky received a grant through Anthem to focus on the state's behavioral health population who smoke. Local American Lung Association staff provided Freedom From Smoking group clinic courses, working closely with experienced community partners across the state, including behavioral health providers, insurance companies, and Quit Now - Kentucky's Quit Line.
"When I began this project I was intimidated about taking this on – I did not have personal experience with the mental health population. However, the more I learned about it and reached out to our partners, I realized the critical lack of attention this population receives," says Tami Cappelletti, Program Manager at the American Lung Association in Kentucky.
The community partnership enabled ongoing support by automatically enrolling and referring participants who completed the Freedom From Smoking program to the state quit line, which allowed them to receive continued counseling by phone. In addition, each participant received a voucher from a partnering pharmacy for cessation medication at no cost to them.
The partnership's success was so significant that behavioral health providers across Kentucky chose to continue offering Freedom From Smoking this year.