Healthy Air

Bogalusa Strong and Well-ahead louisiana work together to combat tobacco use!  

In recognition of Bogalusa’s Smoke-Free Ordinance 1-Year Anniversary, and as part of the continual efforts to improve resident quality of life, Bogalusa Strong and the Bogalusa Mayor Wellness Council proclaims the month of July, “Independence from Tobacco” month. Bogalusa Strong is a collaboration of community members, leaders, businesses, and organizations working together to improve the quality of life and lifestyles of Bogalusa residents. They are achieving this by promoting physical, social, and environmental health. This effort is supported by Mayor Wendy Perrette, the Mayor’s Wellness Council, Our Lady of Angels Hospital, LSU AgCenter, and Well-Ahead Louisiana. 

To spotlight the new declaration, on July 11th, 2018, Bogalusa Strong and Well-Ahead Louisiana launched a Four-week city wide tobacco cessation campaign to educate community members on the dangers of tobacco use and available cessation resources. The campaign generated several educational opportunities, including resources to assist those seeking to quit tobacco, as well as those wanting to help residents quit. Healthcare providers were also encouraged to utilize the resources and materials when explaining the dangers of tobacco use to a client or patient and aid them in taking that first step to quit.


Campaign elements consisted of cessation material distribution, social media marketing, and healthcare provider trainings. The Louisiana Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW), The Smoking Cessation Trust, and the QuitWithUsLA website were heavily promoted as available cessation resources throughout the campaign. Educational materials included push cards, factsheets, brochures, and posters to be distributed at organizations throughout Bogalusa.


The Brief Tobacco Intervention online provider training was also a key factor of the campaign. This training educates healthcare providers to effectively intervene with tobacco users who wish to quit using tobacco. As a result, Our Lady of Angels Hospital incorporated the training within the employee intranet as a required course for healthcare providers to receive continuing education credits. 


Taffy Morrison, Well-Ahead Region 9 Coordinator and the Bogalusa City Wide Cessation Campaign lead, attributed the large campaign success to cross-sector community collaborations. These collaborations established partnerships between city leadership, Well-Ahead, and local business owners. Our hope is to see similar campaigns replicated in communities throughout Louisiana to raise awareness of effective evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment strategies.


  • Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Smoking alone kills 443,000 Americans, including 6,500 Louisiana residents, annually.

  • 1 in 4 residents of Bogalusa smoke or participates in chewing tobacco.
  • Due to promotion from the city-wide campaign, the number of callers reaching out to the Quitline in Bogalusa nearly doubled from the previous month prior to the campaign launch.

Moving Louisiana’s Health Forward


In partnership with other statewide tobacco control organizations, Well-Ahead Louisiana’s Tobacco Control Program continues to provide resources and data needed to combat tobacco prevalence in Louisiana. Join us in connecting Louisiana residents to tobacco cessation resources by visiting!


Are you passionate about tobacco cessation and would like to launch a city-wide cessation campaign in your community? Email to learn more. Together, we can move Louisiana’s health forward!


The Brief Tobacco Intervention Online Provider Training is Now Live!

Evidence supports that consistent identification and treatment of tobacco use by healthcare providers increases quit rates. Even brief cessation advice and counseling is effective and should be offered to every patient. 

Well-Ahead Louisiana recently launched the Brief Tobacco Intervention Online Provider Training, which involves a quick, easy, and effective approach to address tobacco use.  The Brief Tobacco Intervention involves three simple steps: Ask, Advise, and Refer.  This cessation approach ensures patients receive cessation treatment and support, while saving time for healthcare providers and their staff.  The online training also provides information on quit resources available to Louisiana residents for patient referral. It takes less than an hour to complete.  Some providers may qualify to receive continuing education credits!   


  • 22.9% of Louisiana adults smoke. 
  • The majority of those who smoke are interested in quitting, but rarely receive quit assistance.
  • The Louisiana Tobacco Quitline receives over 10,000 callers per quarter.

Moving Louisiana’s Health Forward

Our Brief Tobacco Intervention training will be available for one year only! Do you work with healthcare providers? Help us spread the word about the training! Email to learn how your organization can become a promotional partner. 

Well-Ahead Louisiana Connects Louisiana Organizations and Residents to Quit Tobacco Resources

New Year’s resolutions are an opportunistic chance for tobacco users to quit tobacco use for good. It is never too late to quit smoking. Within just hours of your last cigarette, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops and your oxygen levels increase to normal. Nearly 70 percent of smokers want to quit, and more than half of them try to stop each year.Organizations are able to connect Louisiana residents to available tobacco cessation treatments and resources by guiding them to the Smoking Cessation Trust and the Louisiana Quitline. Below are descriptions of the two main tobacco cessation resources for residents to utilize.

  1. The Louisiana Quitline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Quit coaches are there to assist the caller in creating a quit plan tailored to his or her specific needs. It is a five-call program and those who call receive a starter two-week supply of nicotine gum or patches. The Quitline also provides community smoking cessation classes along with free programs and resources.
  2. The Smoking Cessation Trust requires participants to meet certain criteria, but is a great resource for those who qualify. Eligibility requirements for applicants state that you must be a current Louisiana resident who began smoking on or before September 1st, 1988. The Trust provides cessation medications, individual/group cessation counseling, and telephone quitline support at no cost to qualified residents. 

The Smoking Cessation Trust and Louisiana Quitline are easy ways to increase promotion and access to cessation resources for those interested in quitting. Cessation-related fact sheets, brochures, fax-to-quit referrals, posters, and social media content are all methods for increasing promotion to tobacco users. For access to resources, check out

Health insurance is also an underutilized resource that may be available to residents seeking quit tobacco resources.Those who receive Medicaid or other health insurance may also qualify to receive tobacco cessation medications. Additionally, if your staff members receive employer health insurance, some of their benefits may cover tobacco cessation medication and counseling.


  • Among all current adult cigarette smokers in the U.S., nearly 7 out of every 10 (68.0%) reported that they wanted to quit completely (CDC, 2017).

  • More people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug. Research suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol (CDC, 2017). 

  • According to the 2016 Surgeons General Report, quitting smoking is beneficial to health at any age, and cigarette smokers who quit before age 35 have mortality rates similar to those who never smoked.


In partnership with other statewide tobacco control organizations, Well-Ahead Louisiana’s Tobacco Cessation and Prevention program continues to provide resources and data needed to combat tobacco prevalence in Louisiana. Join us in connecting Louisiana residents to tobacco cessation resources by promoting 1-800-QUIT-NOW!

Are you passionate about tobacco cessation? Partner with us and show us how you are moving Louisiana’s health forward by geauxing tobacco-free this New Year! Email to learn more.  Together, we can move Louisiana’s health forward!

Behavioral Health Partnership Supports Quitline Sustainability

Since 2014, Well-Ahead Louisiana and the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) have partnered to take steps in addressing tobacco use in the behavioral health population. In order to enhance data collection of smokers with behavioral health conditions, the Louisiana Quitline began asking callers if they suffered from any mental illnesses, such as an anxiety disorder, depression disorder, bipolar disorder, alcohol/drug abuse, or schizophrenia. The data from the July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016 showed 42.7% of callers to the Louisiana Quitline have at least one mental health or substance use disorder.

With partners from the Louisiana Tobacco Coalition, Well-Ahead developed a partnership plan that focuses on enhancing referrals to, funding for, and reimbursement of Louisiana Quitline services. As part of this plan, our team prepared a funding proposal for OBH that included the data of Quitline callers who indicated they suffered from any mental illness. With 42.7% of callers reporting at least one behavioral health condition, the program was able to equate the cost of services to the population and request a reasonable amount of OBH’s tobacco tax funding to support the Quitline. The proposal was accepted and the state’s Quitline services were sustained without a break in coverage. A memorandum of understanding between the two agencies has been developed so that the Louisiana Quitline can be sustained through this partnership in following years.

Through leveraging statewide partnerships, Well-Ahead and OBH aligned program priorities to sustain Quitline resources and cessation services to Louisiana residents. Increasing the availability and accessibility of the Quitline ensures that a basic level of quitline service is in place to support national and state interventions likely to increase interest in quitting and calls to the quitline. This collaborative work between agencies can aid in fostering other opportunities to increase promotion and expand the level of service among populations affected by tobacco-related disparities.

Did You Know?

  •  Persons living with mental illness or a substance use disorder account for 25% of the adult population, but they consumed 40% of cigarettes sold in the United States.
  • Nationally, more than 1 in 3 adults (36 %) with a mental illness smoke cigarettes, compared to about 1 in 5 adults (21%) with no mental illness.
  • Persons with a mental or substance use disorder die, on average, 5 years prematurely than persons without these disorders; many of these deaths are caused by smoking cigarettes.

Moving Louisiana’s Health Forward

One way to support community level changes for persons living with mental health and substance use disorders is to make changes in the way we look at smoking in the behavioral health population. The best ways to respond are to adopt, implement, and enforce tobacco-free policies. It is also helpful to revisit and or include processes to treat tobacco dependence. These processes can include integrating screening for tobacco use and using combination therapy to treat tobacco dependence (ex. pharmacotherapy and brief behavioral interventions).

Are you passionate about tobacco prevention and cessation? Partner with us to move Louisiana’s health forward! Email to learn more. Together, we can move Louisiana’s health forward!

Baker High School Commits to Kicking Butts

Last month, Well-Ahead Louisiana implemented a tobacco cessation and prevention media campaign targeting youth, educating youth about the dangers of tobacco use.  It incorporated digital and radio advertising, event coordination, and public relations.  The campaign was a huge success, racking up over 2,200 visits to the campaign's webpage, available here, and earning a viewability rate of 65% (a standard rate is 53%). The ads, shown below, will soon be available for download in the Louisiana Tobacco Coalition's Google Drive.   


On Monday, March 19th, Well-Ahead Louisiana and over 500 students at Baker High School gathered to celebrate Kick Butts Day, a national movement that empowers youth to stand against tobacco use.  The pep-rally style event gave students the opportunity to stand up against Big Tobacco and pledge to live tobacco-free.  The event was emceed by 94.1’s D.J. AJ Boogie and featured performances by students of LSU Aerial Silks and the Baker High School Band. These performances showed that healthy lungs are imperative to excel in the things the students love most: emceeing, music, and athletics. 

The event also included several noteworthy speakers.  City of Baker School System Superintendent, Dr. Herman Brister, encouraged the students to be leaders in the community by living a tobacco-free life.  At the event, Jared Hymowitz, Director of East Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s Healthy City Initiative, proclaimed the week of March 19th Kick Butts Week.  This official proclamation extended Kick Butts Day to a seven day observance in East Baton Rouge Parish. In addition, Frankie Poland, of the Communities of Color Network,  provided tobacco education that focused on the dangers of tobacco use and secondhand smoke. 

Did You Know?

  • In Louisiana, nearly 30,000 high school students currently smoke, and about 2,400 kids under the age of 18 are becoming new daily smokers each year. 

  • Lawmakers cleared the air for every student in the state in 2017 by passing Act 351, which prohibited smoking across more than 1,400 schools statewide.

  • Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. 

  • Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined.

Moving Louisiana’s Health Forward

Healthy students build strong communities. To date, 517 schools across the state have been designated as WellSpots. In addition, a total of 205 WellSpots have implemented a smoke-free policy and 619 WellSpots have implemented a comprehensive tobacco-free policy. Learn how you can support smoke-free environments by visiting