Twenty minutes after snuffing out a cigarette, a smoker’s heart rate and blood pressure began to fall back to normal.

One year after a final cigarette, a person’s risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker’s risk.

Ten years after their last puff, smokers’ risk of dying from lung cancer – and other types of cancers – drops by half.

Mercy Health — St. Rita’s Medical Center is proud to join with our community partners to offer the Allen County Tobacco Coalition Activate Change-QUIT. This new, collaborative project is designed to support and promote smoking cessation throughout Allen County with the goal of helping residents achieve a healthier life.

Activate Change-QUIT is a partnership with Mercy Health, Activate Allen County, Ohio Northern University, Coleman Professional Services, Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, Allen County Metropolitan Housing Authority (MET Housing) Allen County Public Health, West Ohio Community Action Partnership, Prevention Awareness Support Services (PASS), and the United Way of Lima. The program was made possible through a $100,000 grant through the Bon Secours Mercy Health Foundation.

“Smoking remains a challenging health concern facing our community and Mercy Health believes that by working together, we can help improve the well-being of those we serve,” said Tyler Smith, manager, Community Health for Mercy Health – Lima. “Sixty-two percent of smokers in Allen County have unsuccessfully tried to quit smoking. We want to make sure these individuals have the tools and support they need to kick this bad habit and gain a healthier lifestyle.”

The project is made up of a 12-week program offered at St. Rita’s and a mobile smoking cessation clinic operated by Ohio Northern University. Activate Change-QUIT is for any resident of the community who wants to quit smoking. Combined, these two outreach opportunities will increase both the accessibility and number of cessation available in the community, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay or the struggles around transportation.

"Activate Allen County is a proud partner of this much needed program. As a community, we lack enough tobacco cessation resources,” said Kayla Monfort, co-director, Activate Allen County. “Data is showing us that residents are trying to quit, but these are highly addictive products and many times additional support is needed. With the Activate Change-QUIT program available in our community, we hope our residents find the extra support and motivation they need."

The program at St. Rita’s is set to start in March and will be offered multiple times throughout the calendar year. Those interested can register by calling (419) 996-5633, extension 2.  The mobile clinic will be offering services starting in April in the community at select locations, those wanting to learn more please refer to