Ellis Fischel Program Helps Smokers Kick the Habit

Virtual tobacco-free classes are now available online

photo of broken cigarette on calendar

The causal relationship between smoking and lung cancer is undisputed in the medical community, yet tobacco use remains remarkably high among adults in the U.S. In fact, 22.3 percent (1,049,400) of adults in Missouri smoke.

To help lower that number, Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, in collaboration with the MU Wellness Resource Center, is offering a 10-week tobacco-free group program to help smokers kick the habit for good. These online classes are available Tuesday evenings via Zoom. Community members can begin the classes at any time at no-cost. 

Why it works

Through the program, participants attend five one-hour online group classes, and each class includes several discussions and activities that are known to help people through the quitting process, such as activities focused on healthy lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, coping with triggers and developing coping strategies.

Although most attempts to quit smoking are done cold turkey, this program takes a different approach. Using a well-researched curriculum combined with free nicotine-replacement therapy such as patches or gum, the tobacco-free program at Ellis allows participants to change behaviors while gradually stepping down from nicotine.

Why it’s important

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., and on average, smokers die 10 years earlier than non-smokers. Smokers are also at greater risk of developing numerous chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other lung diseases.

“We all know someone who has been harmed by tobacco,” Wintemberg says. “The people who come through this class are our parents, grandparents, siblings, friends and co-workers. By offering this cessation program, Ellis Fischel is saving lives and giving us more time with our loved ones.”

Read one patient's success story and why he's grateful for these classes.

All tobacco-free classes are free and open to the public. Online class meetings will take place via Zoom every other Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. To learn more about the program or to register, contact quitnow@health.missouri.edu.

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