Ready to quit smoking? Whatever your reason, Rome Memorial Hospital is here to help you succeed. Starting Thursday, May 4 the hospital will begin a free three-week series of smoking cessation classes. Register now and you can earn a $20 grocery gift card when you complete the program.The program will be held from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Thursdays, starting May 4 and ending on May 18, in the hospital’s classroom, 1500 N. James St. The program is in collaboration with the Oneida County Health Department and is based on the American Cancer Society’s Freshstart program which combines information and support to help smokers break the addiction.“Everyone has their own reason to quit smoking,” said Rome Memorial Hospital Director of Cardiopulmonary Services, Eileen G. Luley, MS, RRT. “Maybe you want to improve your health, look and feel better, or protect the health of loved ones. When you stop smoking, major health benefits for you start right away and you’ll be helping family and friends reduce the health risks associated with breathing secondhand smoke.” “Regardless of how long you have smoked, it is never too late to quit smoking to improve your health and quality of life,” Luley added.Teaching the class is Rome Memorial Hospital Respiratory Therapist Sharin Chrzanowski, RRT. Sharin has been trained through the American Cancer Society’s Freshstart smoking cessation program. Participants should plan to attend all three sessions for best results. Space is limited and advance registration is required. Please call Rome Memorial Hospital’s Education Department at 338-7143 on or before Friday, April 28 to register. The class is open to adults 18 and older. The program is free and those completing all three classes will be rewarded with a $20 grocery gift card. “No doubt about it – quitting smoking is difficult. But, you don’t have to do it alone,” said Luley. “When people make the decision to quit smoking, we want to be there to help.”The classes offer the information and encouragement people need to understand the addiction and the tools that are available to help them overcome the challenges.Smoking cessation class participants may be eligible to receive free nicotine replacement patches provided through The New York State Smokers Quitline. It would be advantageous to call Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS before attending the first class to receive the free “start kit” of nicotine replacement patches. “We see the adverse effects of smoking on our patients, including various forms of cancer, chronic lung disease and coronary heart disease,” Luley continued. “But, the risk of lung cancer and other smoking-related illnesses can be reduced if you quit smoking.” Research shows that 70% of all smokers want to quit. With some help and determination, people can quit smoking. Are you one of the 70% that wants to quit and has a willingness to try? If you are, then we at Rome Memorial Hospital may be able to help you.Anyone who is interested in learning more about smoking cessation can call the hospital’s education department at 338-7143 or contact the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 866-NY-QUITS (866-697-8487) or www.nysmokefree.com. Other information may be obtained by visiting www.smokefree.gov.