Published: Mar 29, 2011 12:44 AM EDT
Updated: Mar 28, 2011 9:46 PM EDT

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- Collier County is amping up their efforts to kick smoking to the curb. Their health department is launching three free ways for residents to quit, worth thousands of dollars in savings.

Collier County Health Department acknowledges nixing nicotine is no easy feat.

"You have to find a reason to quit. It's a very hard addiction. It's not a habit, it's an addiction," Jennifer Smith of the Collier County Health Department said Monday.

That's why they're offering a quit-smoking program in three different formats, to help snub smoking for good. Starting next month, free group counseling sessions will start up. The program will offer step-by-step counseling and free nicotine replacement methods-- a huge savings instead of purchasing pricey patches or gum.

"Thousands, over thousands of dollars. You'll feel better, you'll look better," Smith said.

For those on the go, counseling is as easy as a phone call. The Florida Quitline is toll-free, and available in English or Spanish. "Quit coaches" schedule personalized counseling sessions over the phone...or even, on the web.

"Between the phone counseling, the web counseling, the face-to-face...there's so many different ways that you can make that step," Smith said on Monday.

It's all paid for by the Florida Department of Health, with a portion of their budget contributed by the state's tobacco settlement money. It's a program they hope will help keep state health care costs from soaring due to smokers.

"It's saving money, saving health and saving lives. It's a win-win situation for everyone when they make that choice," Smith said.

Group counseling sessions begin Tuesday, April 12th at the Neighborhood Health Clinic on Goodlette Road N. For more information on group counseling sessions, call 239-989-9809.

For more information on the Florida Quitline, call 1-877-U-CAN-NOW.

To access web counseling, visit