Tobacco-free program offered _lowres

Photo provided by Delores Sutton -- Cardiovascular Institute of the South in Zachary recently participated in Lane Regional Medical Center's employee health fair, providing information on its tobacco-free program. CIS and Lane RMC representatives attending the health fair, from left, included Shannon Leonard, Krisi Carriere, Amanda Lapeyrouse and Laura Peel.

For Louisiana residents ready to be tobacco-free and who have smoked prior to Sept. 1, 1988, the Cardiovascular Institute of the South has partnered with the Louisiana Smoking Cessation Trust to offer free smoking cessation counseling and free medications.

The tobacco-free program offers visits with a physician or nurse practitioner, prescription and over-the-counter medications, and support services conducted either individually or in a group.

If you want to quit smoking but do not qualify for the program, additional services may still be funded, and health insurance may cover some portions of the program, a news release said.

Giving up smoking quickly reduces the chance of developing cardiovascular disease, and within five years of quitting, the chances of having a heart attack are 50 percent to 70 percent lower for former smokers compared with current smokers, the release said.

The Cardiovascular Institute of the South has 16 locations in Louisiana, including in Zachary at 6550 Main St., Suite 1000.

For information, call (877) 288-0011 or visit cardio.com/quitsmoking.