Cigarette smoking rates in New York state have fallen to 15.5 percent among adults. A recent survey of Fulton County 12th-graders revealed that 20 percent of youth in that age group have smoked a cigarette in the past 30 days. This is down from almost 40 percent in 2003. Our local retailers are doing a great job of keeping cigarettes and cigarette ads out of the view of young children. This will result in fewer youths beginning to smoke in the future.
I am writing to all those who are trying to stop smoking cigarettes: Please don't give up your fight. Help is available. Your physician may prescribe one of several medications that have been helpful to others in overcoming nicotine addiction. Healthlink Littauer, St. Mary's Healthcare, and the HFM Prevention Council have trained staff who offer smoking cessation classes and support groups. The New York State Smokers' Quitline offers free coaching and quit plans, free nicotine patches, gum and lozenges, and free tips and information. The toll-free Quitline number is 1-866-697-8487 (1-866-NY QUITS). The Quitline's website is www.nysmokefree.com.
People triumph over addictions of all types every day. Often, several attempts are necessary before someone is successful in overcoming an addiction, whether it is from nicotine, alcohol, other drugs, or gambling. The most important things to remember are to keep trying until you are successful, and to seek help - you are not alone in your efforts.
Good luck to all cigarette smokers who are trying to quit!
For more information, call the HFM Prevention Council at 736-8188 (Fulton and Montgomery Counties) or 548-5710 (Hamilton County) or Project Action, our tobacco free coalition, at 841-7123.
ANN BRENNAN RHODES
HFM Prevention Council