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State, fed agencies offer assistance to help smokers quit

By Staff | Jan 9, 2009

At the beginning of each new year, thousands of Americans make resolutions to change one aspect of their lives, and according to the U.S. government’s official Web site, smoking cessation is commonly one of the top 10 resolutions.
Five federal agencies joined forces to create: SmokeFree.gov, a Web site designed to bring together state and federal government efforts to help people quit smoking. Those who want to quit can also call 800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669).
The Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign also announced it would provide free cessation aid to an estimated 28,000 people wanting to quit. By calling 877-U-CAN-NOW (822-6669), Floridians can receive free counseling or nicotine replacement therapies.
Nicotine addiction is a reality and the FDOH is releasing advertisements across the state to inform smokers of the opportunity to receive free patches, nicotine gum and throat lozenges.
“Quitting is not easy and requires courage and difficult action,” said Kim Berfield, deputy secretary of the Florida Department of Health, in a prepared statement. “It is important for the campaign’s message to have an emotional appeal and to provide tools and resources that provide self-empowerment.”
Smokers put their body at risk by inhaling, in one cigarette, more than 4,000 chemicals that are also found in deadly substances such as arsenic and rat poison. Besides the damaging health effects of smoking, the average smoker spends $1,500 every year on cigarettes.
Craving Busters in North Fort Myers is carrying out a Federal Drug Administration study on the reliability of cold laser therapy — when a cold laser beam is directed at certain points of the body to produce endorphins or the chemical related to contentment. It is a blending of modern technology with ancient Chinese treatments.
Bruce Sitka, spokesperson for Craving Busters, explained that anyone who really wants to stop smoking is capable of quitting.
“The percentage of people who truly want to quit smoking do quit,” he said. “If someone really wants to quit, they will succeed.”
When a person comes to the organization wanting to quit smoking, Sitka said he asks, “What are you getting from it? Is it worth the expense or benefits you are receiving?”
He also explained that this month is a busy time for residents wanting to find a way to quit smoking, but NRTs are not always the best method because they are combating a nicotine addiction with a lower dose of nicotine. On other hand, a person’s success is based on his or her involvement in a cessation program, said Sitka.