Free Services Available Through the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline
OKLAHOMA CITY – June 15, 2016 – Fathers play a significant role in influencing the attitudes and behaviors of their children. This Father’s Day, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is encouraging fathers who use tobacco to make the healthy decision and think about quitting.
Bryce Barfield, of Shawnee, decided to quit smoking when his daughter was only six months old. After more than 25 years of smoking, Barfield finally decided that the risks associated with being a smoker only meant he would have less time in life with his new baby girl.
“I know how important dads are to daughters, and I wanted to be there for my daughter as she grew up,” said Barfield. “I knew very well that if I didn’t quit smoking, I wasn’t going to make it. Being there as a healthy dad was the biggest thing on my mind. I attempted to quit so many times, and I knew I needed all the support I could get. That’s why I called the Helpline.”
Barfield called the Helpline in 2008 and has been tobacco free since. To assist Oklahoma fathers on their quitting journey, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline connects registered users with specially trained Quit Coaches who provide non-judgmental support and help build customized Quit Plans. Free text and email support and free patches, gum or lozenges are available for all Oklahoma tobacco users interested in quitting at 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) and OKhelpline.com.
“My daughter knows that my main reason for quitting smoking was for her, so that I could live a long life and be there for her,” said Barfield. “I am working to be a healthier dad for her, and I am in good health after six and a half years of being smokefree. It is something I don’t ever want to turn back to.”
Unfortunately, tobacco use among men in Oklahoma remains a serious problem as 23.1% of Oklahoma males smoke. Additionally, 12.7% of men use smokeless tobacco. Fathers who smoke not only put themselves at risk, but are putting their families in danger by exposing them to the 70-cancer-causing chemicals in secondhand smoke. Additionally, infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to secondhand smoke, as their bodies and lungs have not yet fully developed. Exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ear infections, asthma attacks, bronchitis, pneumonia, low birth weight and more. This Father’s Day, families can support their fathers in maintaining a tobacco-free lifestyle. Family and friends can visit the “Help Someone Quit” page at OKhelpline.com for tips and advice to help loved ones quit tobacco.
“Even if you’ve tried to quit before, it is important to try again and take advantage of the free resources available to you,” said Paola Klein, Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline coordinator. “Children from families who smoke are twice as likely to become smokers themselves, but parents can help keep them from ever starting by talking to them about the addictive nature of tobacco, making the decision to contact the Helpline themselves, and sharing with them the reasons why they want to quit.”
Call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit OKhelpline.com to explore all of the free services and resources available to Oklahomans. Connect with the Helpline through social media by liking the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline on Facebook or following @OKhelpline on Twitter and Instagram.
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 300,000 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.