The CommonHealth of Kentucky

A 13-part KET production aimed at improving the health of all Kentuckians by sharing health and wellness projects from across the state that are succeeding in making their communities healthier.

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a project of KET’s Be Well Kentucky initiative

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The CommonHealth of Kentucky is a 2005 KET production. Produced in partnership with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Cooper-Clayton Method To Stop Smoking

Cooper-Clayton Method To Stop Smoking
c/o Kentucky Cancer Program, 2365 Harrodsburg Rd., Suite 230, Lexington, KY 40504
(859) 442-3525 or (502) 852-6318

In 1984, Thomas Cooper was a dental surgeon trying to quit smoking. Richard Clayton was an expert on addiction who happened to go to church with Cooper. The two men struck up a friendship, and the quest to get Tom smoke-free became a joint project. Eventually, it also became the Cooper-Clayton Method To Stop Smoking, a comprehensive program that has helped thousands of other people quit.

The Cooper-Clayton method combines personalized science with the kind of group support that has proven successful in helping people beat other addictions. Participants start by keeping a log of every cigarette they smoke over the course of one week. This data establishes a baseline for the amount of nicotine the smoker's body has become accustomed to. Then the participant can begin replacing the cigarettes with nicotine gum or patches, starting at the accustomed concentration of nicotine to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

Over the course of the next 12 weeks, each person gradually reduces his or her nicotine intake while attending weekly group sessions. There, fellow participants share their stories and encourage one another to stay smoke-free. Since smoking is both a physical addiction and a habit, videos and other educational materials show how to break the habit—to think and behave like a non-smoker.

By the end of this phase, nicotine intake is down to zero. Then comes the relapse prevention phase, which also lasts about 12 weeks. Participants are encouraged to keep meeting occasionally with their support groups and are shown techniques for coping with stress, depression, anger, and other situations that tend to trigger cravings for cigarettes.

Research has shown that the support provided by others in the same situation increases the chance of successfully kicking the habit, so Cooper-Clayton trainers encourage participants to meet regularly with their peers. However, a DVD-based version of the educational materials, designed for those who cannot regularly attend meetings, is also proving successful.

Overall, the Cooper-Clayton Method success rate, defined as the percentage of participants who remain smoke-free one year after completing the program, is about 40%—making it twice as effective as simply trying to stop smoking on your own.

Cooper-Clayton classes are offered throughout Kentucky, often through local health departments. Individuals can check the list of classes online or call one of the numbers above for information. Organizations may purchase training kits that include videos, handouts, and books for 24 participants.

Neither Cooper nor Clayton makes any money from the method that bears their names. The classes are administered and materials provided by the Kentucky Cancer Program, a state-funded project run jointly by the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.


600 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40502 (859) 258-7000 (800) 432-0951