New Smoking Cessation Campaign in New York City Offers Support for the “Quitter in You”

American Lung Association in New York And Empire BlueCross BlueShield Partner to Help NYC Smokers Quit

(September 23, 2013)

The American Lung Association of the Northeast and Empire BlueCross BlueShield are supporting smokers in New York City in their efforts to quit for good through the “Quitter in You” smoking cessation campaign. Empire BlueCross BlueShield awarded the American Lung Association in New York $59,000 as part of a total $1.5 million donation to the American Lung Association by Empire’s parent company in support of the program.

The campaign aims to empower people trying to quit smoking by acknowledging that past quit attempts are not failures, but are normal and necessary steps along the way to quitting for good. A survey from the American Lung Association found that six out of 10 former smokers were not able to successfully quit on their first try and required multiple attempts to quit smoking for good.

“We know that quitting smoking is not easy, but it’s the best thing you can do to improve your health and quality of life,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “The American Lung Association has always made themselves available to support smokers who want to quit every step of the way. We’re hoping that our new ‘Quitter in You’ campaign will encourage those who may have tried but didn’t succeed to try again. We are committed to helping smokers be successful in quitting for good.”

“Quitting smoking is one of the most powerful things a person can do for his or her health, but it’s not easy,” said Brian Griffin, President and CEO, Empire BlueCross BlueShield. “Studies show that it takes several attempts before a smoker quits for good, so it’s important not to give up. The “Quitter in You” initiative helps educate and empower people trying to quit smoking, bringing them one step closer to success.”

More than 2.7 million people in New York State, which is 18.1 percent of the state population, smoke according to 2011 data. A survey from the American Lung Association found that most smokers are not successful the first time they try to quit, but with each quit attempt they become a little wiser about what to do and not do the next time. The “Quitter in You” campaign aims to change the way people think about past quit attempts and motivate them to try again. A quit attempt is defined as not smoking for at least one day with the intent of not starting again.

The American Lung Association of the Northeast partners with countless hospitals and health care facilities to bring Freedom from Smoking® group clinics throughout the region, including New York. The Freedom From Smoking® group clinic includes eight sessions and features a step-by-step plan for quitting smoking. Each session is designed to help smokers gain control over their behavior. The clinic format encourages participants to work on the process and problems of quitting both individually and as part of a group.

The “Quitter in You” campaign features a web site at www.quitterinyou.org, radio and Out-of-Home public service announcements, and a wealth of personalized tools and support from the American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking® Lung Helpline (1-800-LUNG-USA), Freedom From Smoking® Online and Freedom From Smoking® in-person clinic. Freedom From Smoking® Online is available at www.ffsonline.org. The campaign is focused in 14 target markets, including New York City.

The “Quitter in You” campaign is also reaching Spanish-speaking communities with a Spanish-language web site, www.elganadorenti.org, radio public service announcements, Freedom From Smoking® cessation resources, as well counseling and one-on-one support from Spanish-speaking registered nurses, respiratory therapists and trained smoking cessation counselors through the Lung Helpline (1-800-LUNG-USA).

The “Quitter in You” campaign is made possible through funding from Empire BlueCross BlueShield’s parent company. Helping more Americans quit smoking remains a top public health priority for the American Lung Association. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 43 million American adults are current smokers. Smoking-related diseases claim an estimated 443,000 lives each year, including those affected indirectly, such as babies born prematurely due to prenatal maternal smoking and victims of “secondhand” exposure to tobacco’s carcinogens. Smoking cost the United States more than $193 billion each year, including $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in direct health care expenditures, or an average of $4,446 per adult smoker.