Celebrate A Tobacco-Free Life This Father’s Day

Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline continues to help Oklahomans during pandemic.

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 15, 2020) — This Father’s Day, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline encourages fathers to take the first step to a healthier life for themselves and their families by quitting tobacco. The Helpline, a program of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), offers FREE resources for Oklahomans seeking to quit tobacco.

Shaun Pryor, of Edmond, smoked and dipped for many years – going through five to seven cigars and a can of dip per day. After almost dying of a heart attack in his early 30s, he quit tobacco but started back up a few months later.

“One day, my son found my cigar wrappers, and he said to me, ‘Dad, you need to quit. I want you to quit,’ ” Pryor said. “It hurt. I was embarrassed.”

“I am not the ‘I need help guy,’ but I went to the doctor. When my doctor told me about the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, it opened up a new door. This time, I had people in my corner supporting me — which I didn’t expect. They were so encouraging, and they still are to this day. I couldn’t have done this by myself,” Pryor said.

To assist Oklahomans on their quitting journey, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline connects registered users with FREE specially trained Quit Coaches who are available 24/7, provide non-judgmental support and help build customized plans to help Oklahomans quit on their own terms. Free text and email support and free patches, gum or lozenges are also available for individuals interested in quitting at 1-800-QUIT NOW and OKhelpline.com.

Ronnie Trentham started dipping as a teenager and has since survived seven bouts of cancer caused by tobacco use. The Stilwell resident has lived tobacco free since 1995, which allows him to enjoy life as a husband, father and grandfather.

Trentham encourages tobacco users to take advantage of quit resources like the free services of the Helpline to protect themselves from the dangers he faced. “Don’t be too stubborn to ask for help,” he said.

Unfortunately, tobacco use among men in Oklahoma remains a serious problem as 21% of Oklahoma males smoke. Additionally, nearly 14% of men use smokeless tobacco. Male smokers put themselves at high risk for developing smoking-related health issues like lung cancer, stroke and heart disease. Those who smoke are also at a higher risk of complications of contracting COVID-19.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smokers are more vulnerable to infection due to the COVID-19 because their lung health is already compromised. The benefits of quitting smoking and the use of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, far outweigh the risks during these uncertain times.

Father’s Day is also a time to think about the effects of tobacco use on loved ones. Children from families who smoke are twice as likely to become smokers themselves, and many fathers say they don’t want to pass tobacco addiction to their children. For those who do have a teen in the home struggling with tobacco use, the Helpline has a new program to help them quit as well.

Recently, the Helpline partnered with My Life, My Quit to provide quit services to teens. The My Life, My Quit program combines best practices for youth tobacco cessation adapted to include vaping. Youth 13-17 can now receive free quit support with live text, web chat or by phone at MyLifeMyQuit.com or by texting “Start My Quit” to 855-891-9989.

Call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) to explore the free services and resources available.

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My Life My Quit is a free program to help Oklahoma teens, ages 13-17, quit tobacco, including e-cigarettes. Offering tools most utilized by teens, free live texting, web chat and phone calls, My Life My Quit supports teens through the steps of quitting tobacco to be able to live tobacco free. Funded by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, these free services for Oklahoma teens can be found at MyLifeMyQuit.com or by texting “Start My Quit” to 855-891-9989.

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The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is a FREE service for Oklahomans wanting to quit tobacco. Funding is primarily provided by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), in partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Oklahoma Employees Group Insurance Division and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline has served more than 365,000 Oklahomans since 2003 and was ranked the top quitline for reaching tobacco users seeking treatment in FY2013 by the North American Quitline Consortium.

The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public’s health. TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health. To learn more go to: www.ok.gov/tset.

For more information, contact:
Thomas Larson, Director of Public Information and Outreach
thomasl@tset.ok.gov
Direct: (405) 521-4992
Cell: (405) 642-6860