By Brielle Carnright
Tobacco Project Coordinator
“You don’t have to stop smoking in one day. Start with day one.” That’s the motto for the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, an annual event that takes place on the third Thursday of November — a day to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and to provide people with resources to quit. This year, the Great American Smokeout takes place Nov. 16.
Small steps are often the most crucial when a person decides to quit, even if it starts with just one less cigarette smoked per day. Many smokers want to quit, but don’t know how to get started.
One great place to start is by talking to your healthcare provider. The Heart Network partners with Glens Falls Hospital to promote North Country Nicotine Consultants, individuals that work with providers across northern New York to increase the delivery of comprehensive, evidence-based treatment for nicotine addiction. Research shows that patients who talk to their healthcare provider about quitting double their chances of successfully quitting. Consistent follow-up counseling increases those odds by another 20 percent, 30 percent when combined with pharmacotherapy. With support from North Country Nicotine Consultants, providers in both behavioral and clinical settings are better equipped to help people in our communities quit for good.
Another critical resource is the New York State Smokers’ Quitline, which offers many free resources that can help you quit. The Quitline can provide assistance through its trained tobacco treatment specialists who can help individuals create plans and learn how to navigate triggers. Nearly all New York adults can qualify to get a free starter supply of nicotine replacement therapy medications. Additionally, healthcare professionals can tap into the Quitline’s Patient Referral Program to provide support and monitoring for their patients.
To learn more about Quitline, call 1-866-NY-QUITS, text QUITNOW to 333888 or visit nysmokefree.com. To learn more about North Country Nicotine Consultants, visit heartnetwork.org/ncnc/or email email@example.com.
On Nov. 16, we hope you’ll take part in the Great American Smokeout and take the first step toward quitting — just remember you don’t have to go it alone and the first step is the most important.