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Study shows smoking is still one of the greatest health challenges for the trucking industry

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – November 17, 2022 – The St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund (SCF) is pleased to share continued successful results of the trucking industry’s only smoking cessation program – Rigs Without Cigs – in support of the American Cancer Society’s annual Great American Smokeout awareness event. Since the Rigs without Cigs program launched in September 2017, 178 truck drivers have quit smoking – a 40 percent success rate – and more than 124 drivers have cut their usage in half or more.

While smoking rates have dropped dramatically over the past 40 years, smoking addiction still has a stronghold on professional truck drivers. In fact, a study conducted in 2019 by the University of Utah showed 68 percent of truck drivers surveyed were daily smokers. This is a much higher percentage than the national average of 14%.

Per the Center for Disease Control, cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths. These facts, coupled with seeing that many SCF applicants had illnesses directly related to smoking, led to the creation of the Rigs without Cigs (RwC) tobacco cessation program.

The program offers four methods of quitting, along with tips and tools to aid in becoming tobacco free. RwC is a free program available to all active Class A OTR truck drivers, thanks to sponsors who support the program with either monetary or products donations.

The SCF is frequently asked what makes RwC different than other programs. While RwC does offer different options to assist in becoming tobacco free, it also offers weekly accountability and support, both of which are vital to cessation success. Participants chose an accountability partner, and get a weekly call, email, or text asking for an update from Julie Dillon, the program’s coordinator. Participants also get a lot of support from fellow drivers through the Rigs Without Cigs Facebook Group.

Larry Sonnabend participated in the program, and he continues to be involved in the Facebook group to encourage others. He recently had this to say, “I want to say thank you to the group and Julie Dillon. My journey with trying to quit was over two decades and many failed attempts. I put out the last Marlboro in my pack and so far, that has been it. I really do believe that the accountability the program installed is key to my success.”

Another driver has this to say about the Rigs without Cigs program. “I am happy to report that I am both smoke and cancer free! Thank you so much for your assistance. We are not only saving tons of money, but also enjoying good health.”

If you would like to be one of our success stories, you can register for our program anytime at Rigs without Cigs or contact Julie Dillon our Health & Wellness Manager. She can be reached at or 865-544-8145. Julie is passionate about helping drivers live longer and feel their best. With her expertise as a Therapeutic Nutritional Counselor, Tobacco Cessation Specialist, and certified Holistic Health Coach, you can be assured she has the knowledge to help you succeed in any of the SCF’s programs. Did we mention there are prizes for those who quit smoking?

Thank you to the following sponsors who make this program free for professional drivers: RoadPro Family of Brands, which has supported the program since 2019, Edge Logistics, Call on Doc, and Grinds Coffee Pouches.

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Director of Philanthropy and Development:              Rob Duda

Shannon Currier                                                         Peppercomm                             

865.202.9428                                                             908.347.1243