Be Resolute: Quit Smoking in the New Year

Help Available for Smokers' New Year's Resolution to Quit

ALBANY, N.Y. (Jan. 4, 2010) - In this new year, State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., urges all New Yorkers who smoke to make one resolution that will have lasting effects on themselves and their children. That is the decision to quit smoking - with the help of the New York State Smokers' Quitline.

"It's never too late to quit smoking," Dr. Daines said. "Quitting brings immediate advantages to smokers and their families."

The health effects of quitting are undeniable. When a person stops smoking, the body begins to repair itself immediately. Just 20 minutes after stopping, the heart rate and blood pressure drop. The risk of heart attack decreases after 24 hours. In two weeks to three months, blood circulation improves, the body is better able to fight infection, walking becomes easier, and lung function increases up to 20 percent.

Additional benefits of quitting also include regaining lost senses of smell and taste, and avoiding premature wrinkling of the skin, stained teeth, bad-smelling hair, and yellow fingernails. Smokers with children can also help protect their loved ones by quitting. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. Parents' smoking causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.

"We know that quitting smoking isn't easy, but with expert help smokers can surmount the difficulties," Dr. Daines said. "That expert help is the New York State Smokers' Quitline." The Quitline, along with advice and assistance from the medical community, provides smokers with the resources they need to quit successfully.

Quitline support is provided by a specialist who works with the smoker to develop a quit smoking plan. The Quitline specialist sends the smoker a packet of quit smoking information and, if the smoker is eligible, free nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges. The specialist may contact the caller again to offer encouragement, provide additional tips, and measure progress. www.nyhealth.gov/prevention/tobacco_control/

New Yorkers who want help keeping their resolution to quit smoking this New Year should call the Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487). Call hours are Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m.-noon, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m.-6p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Smokers can also receive information and request services through the Quitline's website at www.nysmokefree.com.

Tips on Quitting

  • Set a quit date and mark it on your calendar. Get rid of ashtrays, lighters and cigarettes.
  • Visit your doctor for support and advice with your quit plan.
  • Make a list of reasons why you want to quit.
  • Make a list of family and friends who will support you.
  • Avoid triggers, including alcohol, caffeine and other smokers.
  • Exercise to relieve stress, and improve your mood health. Try a brisk 30-minute walk at least four days a week.
  • Consider using a safe nicotine alternative, such as replacement patches, gum or lozenges, which can double your chance of quitting.