"Quitting smoking is often times not something you can will yourself through."

The Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) hosted a celebration in honor of their smoking cessation program. The program, called Commit to Quit recently reached over 10,000 patients treated.

Commit to Quit uses a multi-faceted approach to help patients quit for good. Through medical testing, treatment, and counseling sessions these patients have a higher chance at better health. In fact, the quit rate through this program is five times higher than the national average.

Doctor Garland Green, a cardiologist with CIS says these resources are key in quitting tobacco.

"Quitting smoking is often times not something you can will yourself through," he said.

While these treatment options may cost money elsewhere, certain qualifying patients can participate in the program at no cost. If you are a Louisiana resident and started smoking on or before 1988, you qualify for the free service.

As one of the tobacco treatment coordinators, Madeleine Ricks helps the patients reach their end goal. She assists in individual and group counseling sessions.

"It's definitely a bit of a rollercoaster at first, but the reward and the payoff in the end is worth it," Ricks said.

One of the patients Ricks works with is Deborah Yott. She smoked for 50 years, but has been tobacco free for the last 15 months. Yott said she tried to quit numerous times. But with the support she gained with Commit to Quit, she no longer craves cigarettes. She says the group sessions were key in helping kick her addiction.

"It helps to be with other people who are going through the same thing," Yott said.

Since quitting she feels better overall.

"I have more energy. I don't cough all the time. I don't smell like cigarettes everywhere I go," she said. "It was the best thing that ever happened to me."