Penrose-St. Francis Health Services received a three-year grant worth more than $500,000 for its smoking cessation efforts.

The Tobacco Education, Prevention and Cessation Program Review Committee and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment awarded the money to the hospitals to help create smoking cessation programs for patients.

The hospital already has a program in place that automatically gives anti-smoking education to every patient who smokes. The grant will allow them to expand the program. The grant money will allow Penrose to hire two new employees to work on the program, which will be modeled after existing hospital-based smoking cessation programs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17.6 percent of people in Colorado smoke.