Smoking in Vermont

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Ten years ago states’ attorneys general and Big Tobacco
settled the country’s largest civil case in history– giving states money to
help people quit.  Vermont
has received about $280 million dollars so far, and plans to spend about $5
million dollars of it this year.  But the
state has undertaken an ambitious goal: cut
smoking in half from pre-settlement levels. 
And so far, the number of smokers in Vermont
has fallen, from 21.5% to 17.6% of
adults.  We look at efforts around the
region to get more people to stub out their cigarettes, and, we look more
closely at how Vermont’s tobacco
settlement funds have been used.  Our
guests include Tina Zuk, the Coordinator for the Coalition for a Tobacco Free
Vermont, and Dr. Ted Marcy, a pulmonologist with the University
of Vermont. (Listen)

Also, VPR reporter John Dillon updates us on this week’s
public meetings in Lowell and Eden where residents met with state and federal
health officials.(Listen)

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster


Emails from listeners–

Sue in Mendon-

I started smoking at 19, while in college.  I had
planned all my life to smoke because my mother, who I greatly admired, always
smoked. (She quit – in an ambulance on her way to the hospital after
suffering a heart attack!)

Finally smoking became a money issue. My husband and I quit
smoking for the entire year of 1975 and were doing well.  But then we got
the call that his 47-year-old stepfather had died and without even speaking, we
stopped at the grocery store for cigarettes on our way to the hospital.

We both smoked for another 10 years, me through two

But then my nurse practitioner told me that my rising blood
pressure required me to consider quitting again.  For me, it wasn’t
my health, or even second-hand smoke.  But by then my little children were
starting to complain and worry about us, and let’s face it, smoking
around little children is dangerous.  You can accidentally burn them
– and we did.  So educating little children about the dangers of
smoking is something I applaud.

Finally, again we quit – cold turkey.  I still
remember dropping an UNOPENED pack of cigarettes in my nurse’s

It wasn’t easy but the second time was a charm.

Because of my experience, I strongly encourage people to
quit again…and again…and again.  It’s never a failure
when you reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke in your lifetime.  Quit
every Monday if that’s the only way you can do it.  You will get

Abby in East Montpelier–

I smoked for 40 years and had made perhaps a couple of weak and
short-lived attempts at quitting. I was tired of telling myself that I was
likely to die from this every time I lit a cigarette; it put a distinct damper
on my enjoyment. I planned to quit during a time when I wouldn’t be following my normal routine. I planned a short trip during which I would either be visiting friends who were nonsmokers or be in the car by myself. (I could be just as irritable and irrational as I wanted and not risk alienating the person I live with.) It’s been over three years, and it’s the very best thing I have ever done for myself. It’s an affirmation that I value myself.

Carrie in Montpelier–

I quit smoking 20 years ago when I discovered I was pregnant with my
first child. I’ve never gone back to smoking but I have very fond memories of how satisfying I found it and would take it up again if it were not so bad for my health.

Paul in Bridport–

Congratulations to everyone in the quit smoking effort. I stopped in
college and it was hard. What helped the most was spending one week in
the company of a family that did not smoke. Peer pressure is a major
force. I had to change my friends when I quit.

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