Kicking the Habit

Ask a former smoker and they will tell you that kicking the smoking habit was one of the toughest things they’ve ever had to do. And for good reason. Nicotine is highly addictive, and other products added to cigarettes make you want to smoke even more.

Quitting isn’t easy, and most people don’t succeed on their first try. But it’s worth it. While quitting earlier in life yields greater health benefits, quitting smoking is beneficial to health at any age. Even people who have smoked for many years or have smoked heavily benefit from quitting.

The good news is, despite the difficulty, millions of people have succeeded in quitting. And we offer a number of resources to help you become one of them  – including confidential programs designed specifically for teens.

Vaping: The New Tobacco

Electronic cigarettes (a.k.a. “e-cigarettes,” “vapes,” “e-hookahs,” “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS),” mods” among other names) are used for taking in nicotine via an inhaled aerosol.

Because they don’t contain tobacco and are “vaped” and not technically “smoked,” there is the belief that these devices are harmless. They aren’t. E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which can cause addiction in adults, adolescents and children. During adolescence, nicotine exposure can impact learning, memory and attention, as well as increase the risk for future addiction to other drugs.

The fluids used for vaping also contain heavy metals and other chemicals, such as propylene glycol (car antifreeze agent), acetone (nail polish remover), acrolein (weed killer agent), formaldehyde (embalming agent), and ethylbenzene (pesticide and paint thinner). These are breathed into the lungs, and bystanders can breathe these in when the user exhales into the air.

The Appeal

Vaping is very popular with young people. Today, more high school students use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes, and the numbers are growing rapidly. Vaping is appealing to young people because the vape fluids contain flavors such as fruit, mint and mango. (These flavorings have not been tested for lung toxicity in the vaporized form.) They also look like USB flash drives, pens, and other common household devices, making them easy to conceal from parents, teachers, and other adults.

Help for Parents

As parents, talking to your teens about anything is tough enough. Talking about the dangers of vaping is even tougher. Still, even if they don’t want to talk about it, you can influence their decision about whether to use e-cigarettes. Even if you have used tobacco yourself, your children will listen if you discuss your struggles with nicotine addiction. Be clear that you don’t approve of them smoking or using e-cigarettes, and that you expect them to live tobacco-free. Also:

  • Don’t let anyone use e-cigarettes or other tobacco products around young people. Not only are they watching the behaviors of others as an example, but they’re also at risk of exposure to nicotine and other chemicals that can be harmful to their health.
  • Avoid restaurants and other locations that allow use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
  • Check with your school administration to ensure your child’s school, college, or university is completely tobacco-free, including being free of e-cigarettes.
  • Make your home and vehicles tobacco-free by prohibiting use of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, by family members, friends, and guests. This is an important step to fully protect your children from exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke or secondhand aerosol from e-cigarettes.
  • Be an example to youth by living tobacco-free. Even if you’re quitting tobacco, share the reasons why you want to be tobacco-free and ask for support in your journey.

Additional Resources

The Toll of Tobacco

Northern Kentucky has some of the highest smoking rates and highest smoking-related death rates in the nation. While smoking rates are decreasing nationally, ours are increasing. And it’s taking its toll. Tobacco usage accounts for more than 800 deaths locally a year.

Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disase and premature death in the country. It damages almost every organ in the body. It doubles the chances of getting cataracts and diabetes. It triples the risk of macular degeneration. It’s the leading cause of lung cancer. It kills more than 480,000 people in the U.S. each year.

We dug into the data and tried to determine just how big of an impact of smoking is having on the health of Northern Kentucky. Our geostory reveals the toll smoking is taking on the region.

Programs to help

The Northern Kentucky Health Department partners with a number of agencies and businesses to provide local residents with the tools and support they need to quit smoking. These tools and support include participation in the Northern Kentucky Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) Program, which provides the assistance needed to quit by limiting or preventing withdrawal symptoms and cravings for nicotine.


Stop by one of the participating pharmacies listed below and ask for a voucher to receive two weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in the form of patches, gum, or lozenges.

Ruwe Family Pharmacy Covington
434 Scott Street
Covington, KY 41011
(859) 431-3304
Ruwe Family Pharmacy Latonia
3712 Winston Avenue
Latonia, KY 41015
(859) 261-0605
Ruwe Family Pharmacy Florence
7220 Burlington Pike
Florence, KY 41042
(859) 746-2800
Newport Drug Center
39 W. 10th St.
Newport, KY 41071
Blanks Pharmacy
272 W Pike Street

Covington, KY  41011
(859) 261-1313
Faith Community Pharmacy
601 Washington Ave. Suite 100
Newport, KY 41071
Avenue Pharmacy
201 6th Ave.
Dayton, KY 41074
Grant County Drugs Dry Ridge
24 South Main Street

Dry Ridge, KY 41035
(859) 823-5271
Grant County Drugs North (Crittenden)
North 375 A Violet Road

Crittenden, KY 41030
(859) 428-3784
Grant County Drugs Williamstown
302 Barnes Road

Williamstown, KY 41097
(859) 824-4239
Save Discount Drugs
716 Madison Avenue

Covington, KY  41011
(859) 431-2857
Nie’s Pharmacy and Wellness Center
11745 Madison Pike

Independence, KY  41051
(859) 356-3941
Genoa Healthcare Pharmacy
7459 Burlington Pike
Bldg. 2 Room 114
Florence, KY 41042

Additional Programs


Quit Now Kentucky is a free tobacco cessation service to help Kentuckians quit smoking or using tobacco products.

The Quit Line includes:

  • Support and advice from an experienced quit coach.
  • A quit plan that is personalized for each caller, giving them the best chance of quitting.
  • The latest information about medications and self-help materials that can help you quit.
  • Resources online and via text message.
  • Pregnancy/postpartum program.
  • FREE nicotine replacement therapy (NRT): Residents and employees in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton Counties are eligible for four weeks of FREE patches.
Freedom From Smoking

The American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking program is a free program for tobacco users who are ready to quit. Because most people already know that smoking is bad for their health, the program focuses almost exclusively on how to quit, not why to quit.

  • Choose a quit day about three weeks from now, then create a personalized plan to get ready for it.
  • Share your experiences with others going through the same thing in our online community.
  • Learn how quit-smoking medications can increase your chance of quitting for good.
  • Get live support from the tobacco treatment specialists at the Lung HelpLine.
  • Build strategies for managing stress, avoiding weight gain and staying active during your quit, and after.
  • Enjoy 24/7 access from your desktop, tablet or smartphone.
My Life, My Quit

My Life, My Quit is a free, confidential quitline for Kentuckians age 17 and younger. My Life, My Quit coaches are trained to work with high schoolers and middle schoolers to help them manage peer pressure and other challenges related to vaping and other tobacco use.

My Life, My Quit is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Coaching is available by text message, phone or online chat. 

This program is 100 percent free, confidential, and made for teens. Through this program, you can:

  • Text your quit coach or call for support.
  • Get text messages that give you a boost while you quit.
  • Learn how to cope with stress in healthy ways.
  • Find out why your body craves nicotine.
  • Get tips and the support you need to quit for good.

Advice and Encouragement