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Press Release # 060-05
Thursday, June 2, 2005

Sandra Mullin/Sid Dinsay
(212) 788-5290; (212) 788-3058 (after hours)


NYC Residents Who Want To Stop Smoking Should Call 311; Free Patches Running Out

NEW YORK CITY – June 2, 2005 – Nearly one month after the launch of its nicotine patch program, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) has distributed more than 40,000 of its free patch kits, leaving less than 5,000 kits available for New York City smokers who want to quit.

By calling 311 between 8:00 A.M. and midnight, seven days a week, New York City residents can find out if they are eligible to receive the patch while supplies last. Recipients must be 18 years or older and call to request the patch kits for themselves, in addition to other eligibility requirements. The patch kits - part of an $8.3 million product donation by Pfizer Inc. - are each worth about $150 and are available for a limited time only, on a first-call, first-served basis.

DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said, "We have been pleased with the response to our nicotine patch program: the kits going twice as fast as when we first did this two years ago. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers want to stop smoking, and the patch greatly increases their chances of successfully quitting. We urge city residents who want to quit to pick up the phone now and call 311 before the last of these free patches are gone."

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

For help quitting smoking, call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1 (866) NY-QUITS (866-697-8487) or visit DOHMH’s Bureau of Tobacco Control maintains an online guide to "quit smoking" resources that are available for free or at nominal cost. Visit for the complete resource guide.

Be Tobacco-Free – a Take Care New York Priority

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in New York City, killing nearly 10,000 New Yorkers every year. That’s why being tobacco-free is a top priority of Take Care New York, the City’s health policy. A third of smokers are killed by tobacco, and they die, on average, 14 years earlier than non-smokers. Smoking increases a person's risk of heart disease, stroke, many types of cancer, blindness, and Alzheimer's disease. Smoking also causes many problems in pregnancy, including miscarriage, premature labor, and low birthweight. If you smoke, quitting is the single most important thing you can do for your health. Visit or call 311 for more information on Take Care New York.