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posted on March 25, 2013 15:51

Panhandle Health District
8500 N. Atlas Road
Hayden, Idaho  83835

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                            Date:     March 22, 2013 

Contact:                                                                                                                    Released by: Lora Whalen, Director
Cynthia Taggart
Public Information Officer
(208) 415-5108
(208) 818-7288 (cell)

Turn in Your Tobacco for Free Quit-Kit

Panhandle Health District (PHD) will collect tobacco in early April from the people who want it out of their lives. National Public Health Week is April 1-7. One of the healthy behaviors PHD will emphasize throughout the month is tobacco cessation.

From Monday, April 1, through Thursday, April 4, every PHD office in the five northern counties will accept tobacco in any form in trade for a free Quit Kit.  The kits will include gum, mints, toothpaste, a relaxation CD, sunflower seeds, fresh fruit, a toothbrush, bottle of water, quit resources and more.

“Our goals are to reduce the smoking rate and to provide resources,” says Linda Harder, PHD’s coordinator of Tobacco Prevention and Cessation programs.

Tobacco-users will deposit their tobacco in large glass jars filled with vinegar which PHD will keep on public display throughout the week. Registration for PHD’s free tobacco cessation course will be available at the time users make their deposits.

“In 2011 in our five northern counties, 135 of our citizens died of lung cancer and 446 northern Idahoans died of heart disease,” said Lora Whalen, PHD director. “I urge every one of us to think about these statistics and consider the correlation between smoking and these deaths.”

The adult smoking rate in northern Idaho ranges from 18 percent to 28 percent, depending on county. The state’s rate is 17 percent and the national goal is 13 percent.

PHD offers the American Cancer Society’s Freshstart program. Freshstart includes motivational intervention activities, practical counseling, social support and education about medication and approaches to quitting based on evidence that these methods help with success.

The Freshstart program is four weekly one-hour sessions.

Turn in Your Tobacco is one component of PHD’s National Public Health Week activities designed to improve health throughout northern Idaho. Other activities include the month-long Moving Minutes Challenge to promote physical activity and the showing of the PBS series “The Weight of the Nation.”

PHD offices in all five counties will collect tobacco 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 1-4. The office in Hayden also will collect through the lunch hour. For information, call 415-5143 or visit