The new year is the universal sign of renewal and is a time to prepare for new beginnings. Many people use it as a time to make healthier choices. I cannot think of a better time to quit smoking. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body and is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer. In 2009, 25,400 lives were prematurely lost due to tobacco use in New York. The toll on families is too much.
The most important thing New Yorkers can do to improve their health is to quit smoking. Although no single approach works best for everyone, many effective methods to quit smoking are available. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about quitting; call the New York State Smokers' Quitline at 1-866-697-8487 or visit www.nysmokefree.com for free information and support.