Resolved to quit smoking

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(Host) An estimated 22 percent of Vermonters smoke and for many of them, quitting the habit will be a New Year’s Resolution. Health officials say there’s help available for those who are interested in kicking the habit.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports:

(Zind) The Vermont Department of Health says there’s a noticeable increase this time of year in the number of calls to the American Cancer Society’s Quit Line. The Quit Line offers free tips and counseling to help smokers kick the habit.

Moira Cook is the Health Department’s tobacco control chief. Cook says even though many people fail the first several times they try to quit, it’s important to keep trying and to get help.

(Cook) “We know that quitting can be tough. It takes an average of five to seven attempts to quit successfully. But research also shows that smokers who quit using a counseling program such as the Quit Line are twice as likely to quit successfully.”

(Zind) In addition to counseling, eligible smokers can get free nicotine replacement patches and gum through the Quit Line. Similar services are offered through the Cessation Coordinator on the staff of each of the state’s hospitals. Catherine Suiter is with the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.

(Suiter) “That tobacco cessation coordinator is responsible for providing ongoing classes, providing one to one counseling either in person or on the phone. The local coordinators are also able to provide low cost or no cost nicotine replacement.”

(Zind) The health department says one thousand Vermonters die each year of smoking-related diseases, which makes tobacco use the leading preventable cause of death. The state hopes to cut the rate of smoking by Vermonters in half by the year 2010. The number for the Quit Line is 1-877-Yes-Quit.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

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