2021 Cold Turkey Challenge
Starting January 1st, Manning Regional Healthcare Center will take part in a statewide program for those who want to quit smoking, chewing or vaping, the ‘Cold Turkey Challenge.’
“We are recruiting serious and dedicated individuals in our service area who genuinely want to kick the nicotine habit,” said MRHC’s education nurse, Julie Hodne. “MRHC is providing support and programming to help you quit for good.”
This eight-week challenge will run from the first of the year to February 26th. Throughout the challenge, participants will be supported by allies (possibly a spouse, friend, local business or community member) to encourage those trying to quit to keep with it. Participants will be tested for nicotine three times throughout the eight weeks to ensure full cessation is being met.
In Iowa, 16% of adults still smoke. And while that is aligned with the U.S. average, Above + Beyond Cancer (along with a donor grant from the Reichardt Family Foundation) is challenging Iowa communities to reduce tobacco use through this friendly competition. The winning Iowa community will receive $50,000 for designated community improvement. The contest, open to Iowa communities with populations of 5,000 or less, challenges participants to quit smoking for a 60-day period.
Community Health Need
During the 2019 MRHC Community Health Needs Assessment, stakeholders identified that smoking (including vaping) was the fourth most significant health improvement need of the communities within the primary service area.
“It is our goal to find ways to address the health needs affecting our community and work in partnership with local businesses and organizations to combat the health issues that affect our community members,” said Hodne.
Even if you are not a smoker, there are various ways to participate in the Cold Turkey Challenge.
If you are ready to use the Cold Turkey Challenge to help you stop smoking, chewing or vaping you are ready to become a Fighter! Smokers, chewers and vapers will be asked to participate in three saliva tests during the contest (at the beginning, toward the middle, and at the end); and complete a self assessment during the other weeks. A single positive test for tobacco use does not disqualify the Fighter, but is counted as if the Fighter received a positive test (meaning tobacco use present) for that week. However, a single missed test will disqualify/excuse a Fighter from the remainder of the contest. Weekly meetings will be available and open to all Fighters, but attendance is not required.
Fighters will have access to optional resources to help with tobacco cessation including those offered by services such as Quitline Iowa. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is allowed, but it will not be paid for by the contest organizers.
Allies are community members who agree to support the project by 1) encouraging others in the community to refrain from smoking, chewing or vaping for the two months of the contest, and 2) encouraging others to become either a Fighter or an Ally. There is no age limit to those agreeing to sign up as an Ally. Allies don’t necessarily have to agree to quit smoking, chewing or vaping, but must agree to support others in their cessation efforts.
For more information, call MRHC Education Nurse, Julie Hodne at (712) 655-8179.