Tomorrow is the Last Day for Eligible New Yorkers to Apply for Free Nicotine Patches or Gum by Calling 311 or Going to nysmokefree.com

“Quitting is Hard, Cancer is Harder” campaign featuring New Yorker Chris who had stage 4 lung cancer ends Wednesday, April 13

Smoking remains a leading cause of preventable death in NYC, killing about 12,000 New Yorkers every year

April 12, 2016 – The Health Department today announced that tomorrow, Wednesday, April 13 is the last day for eligible New Yorkers wishing to quit smoking to apply for free nicotine patches or gum by calling 311 or visiting nysmokefree.com. The program is a part of a citywide campaign, “Quitting is Hard, Cancer is Harder,” featuring Chris, a New Yorker, former smoker, and stage 4 lung cancer survivor. Chris was diagnosed at 39, when he discovered a lump in his neck. The program is conducted in partnership with the New York State Smokers’ Quitline.

“Tomorrow is the last day that New Yorkers who want to quit smoking can apply for free nicotine patches and gum,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “As a former smoker, I know how hard it is to quit. Nicotine patches and gum can help stop nicotine cravings and make it that much easier to kick the habit for good. It’s never too late to quit smoking. Don’t wait to call 311 or visit nysmokefree.com.”

“The first step is always the hardest when trying to quit a highly addictive habit like smoking but the City is here to help, “said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I urge New Yorkers to take advantage of this free nicotine patch program so that they can embark on the path to a healthy, smoke-free life.”

“By offering free nicotine patches, this initiative will help even more New Yorkers kick the habit,” said Council Member Corey Johnson. “I commend Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett and the Department of Health for their efforts on this important issue.”

“Smoking remains a leading cause of preventable death among New Yorkers. Research shows that the use of patches and other nicotine replacement options can more than double the chances of men and women becoming smoke-free. I encourage anyone who wants to quit smoking or is thinking about quitting, to apply for a NYC Quits Kit. Cigarettes kill up to one-third of its users, make the move to a healthier lifestyle today,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health.

Since the Nicotine Patch and Gum Program began in 2003, over 350,000 New Yorkers have enrolled. It is a key component of the City’s multi-pronged comprehensive tobacco control (CTC) program which has reduced the prevalence of adult smoking to 13.9% in 2014 from 21.5% in 2002. This represents a 35% decline in smoking since CTC was put in place, and is one of the lowest prevalence rates of smoking on record in New York City.

Breaking a dependence and addiction to nicotine is not easy, but thousands of New Yorkers have already done it. Data show that using medications and counseling – both of which are provided during this free program – makes a smoker twice as likely to be successful in quitting. Despite the decreasing number of adult smokers in New York City, smoking remains a leading cause of preventable death in New York City. Currently, about 900,000 adult New Yorkers smoke, including 361,000 men between the ages of 18 and 44. Cigarettes are the only consumer products that, when used as intended, kill up to one-third of users. Making the decision to quit lowers the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, cancers and many other illnesses.

Eligible enrollees in the Nicotine Patch and Gum Program will receive a NYC Quits Kit which includes a coaching guide in four languages, and a two-week supply of patches and/or gum depending on the number of cigarettes smoked daily. Enrollees will also receive follow-up calls from the Quitline and a relapse prevention email. Smokers who want help quitting can apply to get patches or gum at no cost by calling 311 or completing an easy online application at www.nysmokefree.com.

Tips to make quitting easier:

  1. Prepare yourself. Stand firm on your decision to quit and think about the benefits.
  2. Pick a date to quit. Write it down in a quit smoking journal.
  3. Create a smoke-free environment by throwing away all cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays.
  4. Ask for support and encouragement. Inform your family, friends and co-workers of your decision.
  5. Find a quit buddy. Encourage another smoker to quit with you, or ask for support from a former smoker.

Live longer, enjoy a healthier life and join the many New Yorkers who have already quit smoking. For more information on how to quit:

  • Call 311 to find a local quit smoking clinic
  • Contact the New York State Smokers’ Quitline (1-866-NY-QUITS)
  • Join us on Facebook by visiting Facebook.com/NYCQuits
  • Visit nyc.gov and search for ‘NYC Quits”

###

#024-16
MEDIA CONTACT: (347) 396-4177
Christopher Miller: pressoffice@health.nyc.gov