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Letter: Programs available to help smokers who want to quit

Programs available to help smokers who want to quit

February is American Heart Month, an opportune time to remind Western New Yorkers that tobacco use and secondhand smoke are major causes of heart disease, America’s No. 1 killer. Frequent exposure to tobacco smoke has been found to nearly double the risk of having a heart attack and creates an unhealthy environment for children. Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease, increases the risk of stroke and increases the size of heart attacks when they occur.

Resources in our community exist to help tobacco users become and stay tobacco free. Health providers are talking more now than ever to their patients, thanks to the New York State media campaign, encouraging tobacco users to talk with their doctors for help in quitting. In addition to help from their health care providers, the New York State Smokers’ Quitline, 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) and website, www.nysmokefree.com, are available to all state residents. Tobacco users can receive free coaching and tips for quitting. Most also qualify for a free two-week starter kit of nicotine replacement therapy in the form of patches. The Quitline offers stop smoking information, a free online smoke-free community and free online ordering for nicotine replacement therapy.

Quitting tobacco use is the best thing tobacco users can do for their health and the health of others around them.

Chester H. Fox, M.D.

Family Practice Physician

Amherst