UAMS Program Helps Arkansans Quit Using Tobacco

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansans who want to stop using tobacco can get intensive treatment at no cost through the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Public Health, the UAMS Area Health Education Centers and affiliated hospitals.


Tobacco users who take advantage of professional help and treatment programs have a much better chance of quitting, according to Christine Sheffer, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education in the College of Public Health.


“We know that quitting tobacco isn’t easy,” said Sheffer, who as principle investigator sets up and leads the tobacco cessation programs. “It takes practice. And sometimes it takes intensive treatment and customized treatment plans for different people.”


People who participate in treatment will be given the option to consent to provide their information for research into how this type of program is working in Arkansas. 


The treatment methods used by the UAMS tobacco intervention clinics are supported by research. Full-time, trained tobacco specialists work with tobacco users to increase their chances of quitting and staying tobacco free by applying basic strategies to their lives.


“People learn to look at their environment and their daily life, recognize the triggers that stimulate tobacco use and how to manage them,” Sheffer said. “Becoming aware of what triggers tobacco use is important to staying tobacco free. Everyone is different, so how one person applies these strategies may be very different from how another person reacts.”


During treatment, people also learn about the various medications available to help reduce the cravings for nicotine. “When people really understand their medications and how to use them, they are more likely to have success,” Sheffer said.


Tobacco users who want to quit can call a tobacco specialist at one of the numbers below to make an appointment, or visit the program’s Web site at The specialist will meet with each person privately, discuss treatment options, and tell them more about the program.


People interested in treatment over the phone can call the SOSQuitline at 1-866-NOWQUIT. For a Spanish-speaking tobacco specialist, call Nestor Garcia at 501-686-5209. Data will be collected from participants to evaluate the program, people’s satisfaction with treatment and treatment effectiveness. 


The Arkansas Tobacco Cessation Network is funded through a contract from the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services using funds from the state tobacco settlement.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, five centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has more than 2,320 students and 690 residents and is the state’s largest public employer with almost 9,000 employees. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.3 billion a year.


UAMS centers of excellence are the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute. 



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