Smokers Encouraged to Quit As Statewide Smoking Ban Nears

July 15, 2003

The statewide ban on smoking in public places goes into effect July 24, and smokers considering trying to quit can get help from the smoking cessation experts at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center and the University of Rochester Medical Center.

"People are sometimes motivated to quit smoking by external forces such as this new law, a hike in the cigarette tax or another significant event," says Deborah Ossip-Klein, Ph.D., director of the Wilmot Cancer Center Smoking Research Program. "But smokers know that it’s very difficult to quit and we offer the education, encouragement and help they may need to be successful."

The expansion to the 1989 Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in nearly all public and work places. It is designed to ensure that people can work, shop, and dine without exposure to second-hand smoke. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that second-hand smoke causes approximately 62,000 deaths among non-smokers each year.

"We applaud this new law as it helps protect people from the dangerous carcinogens in cigarette smoke. We hope that smokers take this opportunity to try to quit, for their own sake," Ossip-Klein says.

Ossip-Klein notes that during any given one-year period, about one-third of all smokers try to quit, but fewer than 10 percent succeed. However, if you track smokers over their lifetime, more than 50 percent do ultimately succeed.

"Each quit attempt provides the smoker with practice that will lead to success. The message is to try again until you succeed," says Ossip-Klein. "We have spoken with hundreds of people who have quit and the one common thread they report is the tremendous sense of satisfaction and pride. They believe in themselves and feel that, ‘If I can quit smoking, I can do anything.’ "

There are many other resources for smokers of all ages who are trying to quit. The New York State Quitline offers a variety of information materials by calling 1-888-609-6292 or go to www.nysmokefree.org.

For teenagers, Wilmot smoking experts lead the on-line chats for gottaquit.com, Monroe County’s smoking cessation program. They also have a special research program for long-term, mid-life and older smokers, called Project 50+. For information about this program call (585) 273-3871 or go to www.p50plus.org.

Also at the Medical Center, the Rochester Tobacco Treatment Center is also offering a free intensive smoking cessation program for select BlueChoice members of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Rochester Region. For more information, call (585) 922-7671.

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Note: Below are smoking cessation facts and tips, courtesy of the Smoking Research Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

  • If a smoker can give up cigarettes for 24 hours, he or she doubles the chance for permanent success.
  • Make a plan for quitting. Talk to a physician about strategies such as cold turkey versus a nicotine patch, gum or inhaler.
  • Tell friends, family and co-workers that you plan to quit and rally them to help you stick with it.
  • Avoid risky situations or behaviors, and remove triggers such as ashtrays and lighters.
  • Remind yourself why you are quitting - and reward yourself every day you forego cigarettes.

For Media Inquiries:
Leslie White
(585) 273-1119
Email Leslie White