New York Joins Innovative National Effort to Help Smokers Quit

Partnership Will Support State Resources to Help Smokers Become an EX®

ALBANY, NY (Feb. 24, 2010) - State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., announced today that New York is continuing to work with an innovative national effort to curb smoking by providing smokers with resources specifically designed to help those struggling with quitting.

New York State has renewed its membership to the National Alliance for Tobacco Cessation (NATC), a public health coalition of national organizations and state health agencies that sponsors the EX® campaign. The State Health Department's Tobacco Control Program hopes to reduce the number of adult smokers by linking New Yorkers with the EX® campaign's online and informational resources, as well as the New York State Smokers' Quitline.

"New York continues to take significant steps to help reduce state smoking rates," Commissioner Daines said. "We are pleased to be one of a number of organizations in several states and at the national level in this timely effort to focus on reducing smoking rates in New York and across the country. The EX® program augments our own efforts to give New Yorkers the tools they need to re-learn their life without cigarettes and will ultimately extend and save lives. New York is proud to have been a part of this groundbreaking initiative since it began in 2008."

With the latest research estimating that nearly 6 million people will lose their lives to tobacco next year, the NATC has created a campaign that will provide direct assistance to help the 46 million Americans who smoke—including 2.5 million New Yorkers—to finally quit.

EX assists smokers in changing the way they feel about the process of quitting, guiding them to valuable resources, such as the New York State Smokers Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or online community at www.BecomeAnEX.org. Such tools help provide the accountability and support needed for a successful quit attempt.

This new public education effort will encourage the 16.8 percent of New York adults who smoke to approach quitting smoking as "re-learning life without cigarettes." EX provides smokers with information that can help them prepare for and guide a quit attempt by:

  • "Re-learning" their thinking on the behavioral aspects of smoking and how different smoking triggers can be overcome with practice and preparation;

  • "Re-learning" their knowledge of addiction and how medications can increase their chances for quitting success; and

  • "Re-learning" their ideas of how support from friends and family members can play a critical role in quitting.

"We are thrilled to have New York join the national effort to help smokers quit," said Cheryl G. Healton, Dr.PH., president and CEO of Legacy. "Most smokers underestimate how powerful tobacco addiction can be. The approach provided by EX changes that equation by showing them how they can quit—namely by combining coaching, pharmacotherapy and social support, so that smokers have the support they need at the times when they're most likely to crave a cigarette and smoke."

Nationally, EX will continue to educate smokers through advertisements on television, radio and online and through events. Because social support is so important, EX offers a state-of-the-art Web site (www.BecomeAnEX.org) as a convening point for smokers who want to quit and share their successes and challenges in the difficult quit process. Since March 2008, when the national program debuted, 1.4 million people have visited the site, and more than 215,000 smokers have joined the online community, forming customized support groups.

"Ending tobacco use is one of our public health priorities, even during the State's fiscal crisis," Commissioner Daines said. "Our smoking rates are at the lowest ever – 16.8 percent for adults and 14.7 percent for teenagers. I support Governor Paterson's proposal to raise the cigarette tax by $1 this year, which will make New York's cigarette tax the highest in the nation. Raising the price of tobacco has consistently help reduce the number of smokers."

To learn more, visit www.BecomeAnEX.org and the State Health Department's Web site at www.nyhealth.gov/prevention/tobacco_control/