FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2006
20,000 New Yorkers Seek Smoking Cessation Help at Public Hospitals
HHC facilities host quit smoking events for public on Great American Smokeout
New York City - New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) today announced that more than 20,000 New Yorkers have enrolled in its smoking cessation program in the last year and will be offering smoking cessation services free to the public during the national Great American Smokeout on November 16, 2006.
“There are fewer smokers in New York City today, thanks in great part to the smoking cessation efforts of the city’s public hospitals,” said HHC President Alan Aviles. “Our QuitSmoking Clinics are open today and year-round for all New Yorkers who want to stop smoking.”
To recognize the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, the city’s public hospitals and clinics will be providing free counseling sessions, providing respiratory tests, carbon monoxide tests and handing out free patches, lozenges, gum and educational information. The programs are available at the following HHC facilities: Bellevue, Harlem, Metropolitan, Elmhurst, Queens, Woodhull, Coney Island, North Central Bronx, Lincoln, Jacobi, and Kings County hospitals; Gouverneur Healthcare Services; and Morrisania and Segundo Ruiz Belvis Diagnostic & Treatment Centers.
The QuitSmoking Clinics at HHC have provided comprehensive treatment for tobacco use to nearly 50,000 New Yorkers since 2003. The services include drug therapy, counseling and case management to keep the patients engaged in treatment. Most patients are treated with Nicotine Replacement Therapy and/or medications. Patients also receive customized counseling services.
“It’s very easy for a patient to come here and get help because we have an open door policy. We plant a seed by informing each patient about the program and whenever that person feels ready, he or she will come to see us,” said Theresa DiPasquale, Director of the QuitSmoking Clinic at Coney Island Hospital. “Someone may come to the program and say they want to quit smoking but they might not be ready. I tell them that they have to stop in their mind first.”
According to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 18.9% of adults in New York City smoke and 10,000 of them die each year from tobacco related illnesses. More than two-thirds of smokers say they want to quit – and every year, more than half try. Without assistance, however, fewer than 10% are successful over the long term. Smokers who quit at any age reduce their risk of tobacco-related disease and prolong their lives.
New Yorkers who want help to quit smoking can call 311. For information about HHC’s QuitSmoking program visit www.nyc.gov/hhc.