Smoking Cessation

Saint Joseph Health System believes that the health of every individual affects us all. The mission of Tobacco Initiatives is to improve the health and quality of life of citizens of St. Joseph County, and to create a culture within the community where the use of tobacco is no longer socially acceptable behavior.

As the community-based lead agency for the tobacco free coalition, Tobacco Initiatives works to eliminate the tobacco industry's influence through advocacy, social alteration and policy change.

The program has four essential components:

  1. Building strong and diverse community-based partnerships.
  2. Protecting Hoosiers from environmental tobacco smoke.
  3. Reducing youth initiation to tobacco.
  4. Promoting and using cessation resources.

Courage to Quit

A seven-week, six-session smoking cessation program offering the skills and techniques that have been proven to help smokers quit.

Sessions: one evening a week from 6 - 7:30 PM
This program is confidential and free of charge. Call 574-335-4699 for the latest schedule.

Please note due to COVID-19, classes will be held virtually

Indiana tobacco quitline

A free cessation counseling service helping Indiana smokers quit tobacco. This phone-based, one-on-one coaching helps tobacco users through the process to quit for life.

Sessions: seven days a week, 24 hours a day
This program is confidential and free of charge. Call 1-800-QUITNOW for more information.

Smoke free St. Joe

A coalition of organizations, businesses and concerned citizens advocating for local, comprehensive, smoke-free air policies. All workers have the right to breathe clean air! Learn more at or check out facebook!

Indiana & St. Joseph County statistics

Indiana ranks high in smoking prevalence in the United States. Our smoking rate is 22.9% and considerably above the national average of 15.%. The following are annual statistics:

  • 151,000 kids alive now will die prematurely to smoking if we do nothing.
  • Smoking health costs: $2.93 billion.
  • Smoking productivity loss: $3.17 billion.
  • Pregnant smoking: 15.7% (St. Joseph County: 12.3%).
  • Medicaid costs: $589.8 million.
  • Tobacco industry spending: $294.9 million.
  • 11,100 Hoosiers die each year due to their own smoking.
  • 21% of St. Joseph County adults smokes and 11.2% of high school students smoke.

Why you should stop smoking

  • In 20 minutes: Your blood pressure, pulse rate and body temperature normalize.
  • In 8 hours: Carbon monoxide and oxygen levels normalize.
  • In 24 hours: Your chances of a having a heart attack decrease.
  • In 48 hours: Nerve endings start regrowing and your ability to smell and taste is enhanced.
  • In 2 – 3 weeks: Circulation improves, walking becomes easier and lung function increases up to 30%.
  • In 1 – 9 months: Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease.
  • In 1 year: Excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.
  • In 5 years: Lung cancer death rate for an average former smoker (one pack a day) decreases by almost half. Stroke risk is reduced and risk of cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus is half that of a smoker’s.
  • In 10 years: Lung cancer death rate is similar to that of a non-smoker. Precancerous cells are replaced and risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, cervix and pancreas decrease.
  • In 15 years: Risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker.