Middletown Times-Herald Record: Resources can help you be cigarette-free in new year

12/28/11

CORNWALL — With 2012 only a few days away, the annual rite of creating a list of New Year's resolutions isn't far behind.

"Quitting smoking is consistently one of the top resolutions made at the start of each new year," said Susan Lennon, education and outreach specialist for the POW'R Tobacco Cessation Center, which serves Orange, Putnam, Westchester and Rockland counties. "With 70 percent of smokers reporting that they want to quit smoking, a new calendar beginning is an opportune time to make a quit attempt."

Statistics have shown that the average smoker will make several attempts before quitting successfully. This accounts for the frequency with which "quitting smoking" appears on New Year's resolutions lists, usually in the top five. The good news, Lennon said, is that there are more proven medications and counseling resources available to help New Yorkers quit successfully than ever before.

For counseling and free nicotine-replacement therapy, the New York State Smoker's Quitline (866-NY-QUITS) is a free, confidential and proven quit-smoking resource that is available to every resident of the state, said Lennon.

The Quitline has trained counselors to speak with those ready to make a quit attempt. Callers are sent a two-week supply of nicotine replacement therapy, a Quit Kit explaining how to set a quit date and prepare for a quit attempt, and information with tips on achieving success in quitting, she added.

"In addition to calling the Quitline, it is important that people talk with their doctor about quitting," said Lennon. "There are several medications that have proven to be very effective in helping smokers quit successfully, although each person should make that decision with input from their medical provider." Smoking is the nation's No. 1 preventable cause of death, claiming the lives of 25,400 New Yorkers and costing $8.17 billion in state health-care costs annually, Lennon said.

POW'R Tobacco Cessation Center is a grant program of the American Lung Association in New York, funded by the New York state Department of Health Tobacco Control Program. Using the evidence-based Model for Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence, they offer health-care providers free education and resources to assist them in helping patients to quit smoking. Interested health-care providers can call 914-347-2094, ext. 48, or go to www.powrcessationcenter.org.