RISE Cowley Beat the Pack facilitator tr

Community members gather at the Winfield Public Library to be trained as facilitators for Beat the Pack®, a new free quit-smoking support group sponsored by RISE Cowley.

Quit-Smoking Support Group Accepting Participants

Beat the Pack kicks off at South Central Kansas Medical Center 

WINFIELD, Kan. (February 11, 2019) — Local healthy communities coalition, RISE Cowley, announced it is now accepting participants for a new support group to help smokers in Cowley County with cessation.


Beat the Pack® (BTP) is a free quit-smoking program consisting of four sessions led by a live facilitator. The program includes helpful tools and tips, a support group of smokers, and assistance in creating a personalized quit plan.


“Through our community surveys and conversations with healthcare providers across the county, RISE Cowley recognized a need for more local resources for tobacco cessation,” explained Sarah Bryant, RISE Cowley healthcare committee chair and William Newton Hospital director of marketing & business development.


According to 2016 data from Kansas Health Matters, 18 percent of Cowley County adults smoke. In addition, 19.6 percent of Cowley County mothers smoked during pregnancy between 2014 and 2016. This places the county behind peer group, state, and national averages.


Encouragingly, 66 percent of smokers in Cowley County indicated a medium to very high interest in learning to reduce or stop smoking in the 2017 RISE Cowley community perception survey.


This data influenced the group’s decision to start its ‘Be a Quitter’ county-wide initiative.  


“While these statistics are concerning, we were encouraged that such a large percentage of smokers want help with quitting,” Bryant emphasized. “Seeking partnerships was the next step.”


Graves Drug helped RISE Cowley start up the BTP support groups through Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company. In January, more than 20 people were trained as BTP facilitators and can now lead live sessions.


Renee Price, RPh, Graves Drug pharmacist and owner, was encouraged to see a large turnout of healthcare providers and community members at the training.


“Having more people available to help with counseling and support right here in Cowley County is what this initiative is all about,” stated Price.


In addition to helping bring BTP to the community, Graves Drug is also starting a ‘Quitter’s Club’ coffee club for citizens to gather and enjoy coffee as an alternative to smoking.


Another aspect of BTP is access to the Quitter’s Circle mobile app.


“The ability to leverage technology to help with cessation was a top priority for this initiative,” noted Bryant. “It’s exciting to offer this free tool to those participating in Beat the Pack.”


Two trained BTP facilitators offered feedback about this opportunity for the Cowley County community.


“I like the approach of Beat the Pack,” replied William Newton Hospital Healthways Coordinator Ruth Bumgarner. “Most smokers already know it’s bad for their health, so much of the focus is on creating a solid quit plan.” 


“Cigarettes and tobacco products are expensive,” said Charissa Wall Finch, RISE Cowley grant coordinator and City-Cowley County Health Department health educator. “I like the discussion about the economics of smoking and the money-saving benefits of cessation.”


Participants can expect to learn more about the health benefits of quitting smoking and how doctors and health insurance plans can provide support.


The first series of sessions is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on February 21, February 28, March 14, and April 4 at South Central Kansas Medical Center in Arkansas City. The group is currently planning sessions for other Cowley County communities including Winfield.


To register for the free sessions, call Finch at 620-221-1430 or email. Sign-up online


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