The new anti-smoking campaign stresses: Almost everyone who successfully quits smoking requires multiple attempts – keep on trying, regardless how many times you tried.
The city seriously wants you to quit – smoking! Merely after a month of the launch of the free HelpMeQuit app, the health department revealed yesterday the new media campaign “Your Number,” in which New Yorkers share the number of attempts it took them to quit, thereby encouraging their fellow residents to quit smoking, regardless of the number of times they have already tried to stop.
“As a former smoker, I know how difficult it is to quit. I struggled to quit smoking, and it took me five times to quit for good,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett, sharing her own number of attempts. “Quitting smoking is the most important step a smoker can take to improve their health. We encourage people who have tried to quit smoking to try again. We’re here to help.”
In New York City, 867,000 adults and 15,000 adolescents use tobacco products. Tobacco use is a leading contributor to premature, preventable death, killing an estimated 12,000 people annually in NYC, according to the health department. Smoking is an addiction that takes its worst toll on low-income communities, where more people smoke and chronic respiratory illnesses disrupt day to day activities for children and adults, said Councilman Fernando Cabrera.
With the new campaign, the health department also issued the following tips for a successful quitting:
- Prepare yourself. Make a list of your reasons for quitting and read it often.
- Pick a quit date. Throw out all of your cigarettes beforehand, and get rid of ashtrays and lighters.
- Get support and encouragement. Tell your family, friends and coworkers that you are quitting and ask for their support.
- Stay away from that first cigarette. Smoking even one cigarette can easily become a regular habit again. Cravings will lessen the longer you don’t smoke. If you can quit for three months, you’ll likely quit for good.
- Notice what triggers cravings. Alcohol, coffee, stress, and being around others who smoke can all trigger cravings. Notice what makes you feel like smoking so that you can avoid those situations or change your routine.
“Smoking is scientifically proven to cause strokes, diabetes, lung disease and other damaging ailments,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. ” I urge all Brooklynites to heed the warning calls and take ownership of their health by quitting smoking for good, however long it takes.”
The new media campaign comes just a few weeks after the city launched a free new NYC HelpMeQuit mobile app which includes tips to stop cravings; social support from other people using HelpMeQuit and Facebook friends; connection to existing smoking cessation resources (such as the Quitline and a map of nearby clinics); and in-app games to distract from smoking. The new $670,000 citywide media campaign will run on television, social media, subways, daily newspapers and the Staten Island Ferry.
New Yorkers who want to quit smoking can get a free starter kit of quit-smoking medications or talk to a quit coach by calling the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-696-8487). Smoking cessation resources are available here, including the recently launched NYC HelpMeQuit app available at the Apple or Google Play stores.