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Smoking Cessation Program to Help Natives Curb Nicotine Cravings

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The University of Kansas Medical Center will examine the value of a culturally sensitive smoking cessation program tailored to Natives versus one that utilizes current best practices

Native smokers 18 and older who would like to quit smoking can sign up for an eight-week smoking cessation program in Lincoln or Omaha, Nebraska offered by the University of Kansas Medical Center, reported the Lincoln Journal Star. If the program proves successful, it may expand into Norfolk, Niobrara, Winnebago and Sioux City, Iowa.

In addition to engaging in support sessions and receiving health information, nicotine patches, gum and lozenges, participants will have the option to take free medication to reduce the severity of nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Half of the group will test a stop smoking program adapted specifically for Natives. The other part of the group will participate in a program that employs the current best practices for smoking cessation. In 2009, Native adults had the highest smoking rate of any ethnic group in America at 23.2 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

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Program facilitator Chris Legband, a Ponca tribal member and former smoker, said the program has helped her completely cut out cigarettes. "I thought it was a great opportunity to encourage people to be more healthy and to keep myself smoke-free," she told the Star Journal.