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Press Release # 046-05
Sunday, May 8, 2005

(212) 788-5290; (212) 788-3058 (after hours)


NYC Residents Who Smoke Urged to Call 311 to Request Free Patches; For a Limited Time Only

NEW YORK CITY – May 8, 2005 – Over 28,000 calls have been made to the City’s 311 hotline since the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) launched its latest nicotine patch distribution program last week. Through a donation worth over $8 million from Pfizer Inc., DOHMH is making available 45,000 courses of nicotine replacement therapy (or “patch kits”) to New York City residents 18 and over who smoke. 311, which averages 35,000 calls per day, saw the daily number of calls jump over 25% during this period.

"These numbers – over 28,000 calls so far – demonstrate what we’ve always said: many people who smoke want to quit," said DOHMH Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH. "Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the City, and now it’s easier than ever to quit. We hope more New Yorkers who smoke take advantage of these free nicotine patch kits. Simply call 311, and if you’re eligible you will receive a safe and effective medicine that will help you stop smoking."

What You Get If You’re Eligible

Eligible smokers will receive the following in the mail:

  • A full six-week supply of nicotine patches;
  • Instructions on how to use the nicotine patch;
  • DOHMH literature on how to quit smoking;
  • Pfizer’s "Know Your Health" brochure, detailing how to receive personalized, online support for your quit efforts

DOHMH will contact program participants by phone after they receive their nicotine patches to offer support and advice on stopping smoking.

Other Smoking Cessation Services Available in New York City

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HCC) offers smoking cessation services. Visit or call 311 to find out where. Smokers can also call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1 (866) NY-QUITS (866-697-8487) or visit for help quitting smoking. There’s also DOHMH’s online guide to "quit smoking" resources that are available for free or at nominal cost. For the complete resource guide, please visit



Find smoking cessation services
New York State Smokers’ Quitline
DOHMH’s online guide to "quit smoking" resources