Adult residents of Fairfield, Lexington, Richland and Sumter counties are eligible for a free smoking cessation program offered by Palmetto Health.
The three-week program has helped 74 percent of participants quit smoking. While some smokers did not quit, they were able to significantly reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke daily.
The smoking cessation program includes six sessions over a three-week period, free counseling and consultations, and a free one-month supply of medication to qualified participants.
Palmetto Health also offers residents a program is focused on educating smokers about the health hazards and costs of smoking and other tobacco products.
Cigarettes and tobacco products are a leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control points out that smoking causes more than 48,000 deaths each year and reduces a smoker's life expectancy by 10 years.
Smokers who kick the habit before age 40 can reduce their risk of premature death by approximately 90 percent.
Classes begin at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 3 and Jan. 17 at Palmetto Health Baptist, 1501 Sumter St.. To register, call 803-296-CARE (2273).