Get help to quit smoking

Quitting smoking or tobacco use isn’t easy. It takes time and a plan. You don’t have to stop smoking in one day.

Some smokers choose the Great American Smokeout event on the third Thursday in November as their day to start the journey toward a smoke-free life. On Nov. 16, join thousands of smokers across the country in taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing your cancer risk.

About 34 million American adults still smoke cigarettes, and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world, according to the American Cancer Society. Smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year, or about one in five deaths.

No matter your age or how long you’ve been smoking, quitting improves health both immediately and over the long term. Giving up smoking is a journey, and it can be hard, but you can increase your chances of success with a good plan and support. Getting help through counseling and medications doubles or even triples your chances of quitting successfully.

Tobacco cessation resources
Riverwood Healthcare Center and Aitkin County Public Health are partnering together to help promote Quit Partner and My Life, My Quit.

Quit Partner is Minnesota’s free and confidential tool to help quit nicotine, whether that be smoking, vaping or chewing. It offers one-on-one support through phone, text, or online. Individuals 18 years and older can also receive a free welcome package that includes nicotine replacement therapy such as patches, gum, or lozenges.

Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit to sign up today. Quit Partner also has specialized programs for people living with mental illnesses or substance use disorders, American Indian communities, pregnancy and post-partum women and youth under age 18.

Teens, 18 years and younger, also have a program. My Life, My Quit is a free and confidential texting-based program to help youth begin to think about quitting vaping, chewing, or smoking. Call or text 855-891-9989 or visit to chat with a trained coach.

Screening for lung cancer
Lung cancer is the country’s most lethal cancer, with over 127,000 people dying of the disease every year. The American Cancer Society recently updated its lung cancer screening recommendations, expanding the pool of current and former smokers who should be screened for it every year, starting at age 50 to age 80. Previously, the age range for screening had been 55 to 74. The barrier to screening for former smokers has also changed. The previous guidelines said if you quit smoking more than 15 years ago, you didn’t necessarily need to be screened. Now even someone who quit 40 years ago might be eligible to be screened.

Riverwood offers screening for lung cancer with a low-dose computed tomography (CT scan) at its Aitkin hospital. Talk to your health care provider to learn more about your lung cancer risk and whether to be screened for lung cancer.

“Quitting smoking is not easy,” said Jen Hambrick, respiratory therapist who oversees Riverwood’s Cardiopulmonary Department. “To have the best chance of quitting and remaining smoke-free, you need to know what you’re up against, what your options are, and where to go for help. For long-term smokers, getting screened for lung cancer is a positive step you can take to improve the chances for early detection and treatment.”

See more information on lung cancer screening from the American Cancer Society at