POTSDAM -- If you quit smoking now, you’ll have plenty to celebrate each time Independence Day rolls around, including a healthier you, more quality time with your loved ones and extra money in your pocket.
“The Fourth of July is the perfect time to quit smoking or make a definitive plan to quit by the end of July,” said Alexandru Stoian, MD, Cardiology Director at Canton Potsdam Hospital and Assistant Professor of Cardiology at the University of Vermont.
“Choose a date within the next few weeks to quit. Don't wait for the "perfect" day – just pick a date and mark your calendar. If you’ve tried quitting smoking before but couldn’t do it, try again. Each time you try, it will get easier. You will be one step closer to quitting for good. Now is the best time to quit. It’s never too late.”
Tobacco use is the nation’s leading cause of preventable death and, in New York State, 25,000 adults die from smoking each year. Additionally, 389,000 kids now under 18 and alive in New York will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.
Secondhand smoke, meanwhile, kills 2,500 New Yorkers every year. It is especially dangerous for babies and children, whose lungs are still developing.
“Quit smoking for yourself and for your family.” Dr. Stoian said. “The health benefits – for you and everyone around you – are obvious and there are financial benefits, too.”
In New York, assuming that you’re a one-pack-per-day smoker, if you quit this month, you can save approximately $2,500 by the 2011 Fourth of July celebration.
“Even though you don’t quick right away, but you make a firm commitment to quit, it is still a great reason to celebrate, because sooner or later you will be successful. Give yourself, for instance, until the end of July to prepare for this quit.” Dr. Stoian said. “Stopping smoking requires desire, determination, and a firm commitment and the more you learn about your options and prepare for quitting, the easier it will be.”
It's also important to remember that there is no safe amount of smoking. Cutting back to “fewer cigarettes” won't give you better chance at a healthy heart or help you avoid cancer.
If you’re ready to claim independence from smoking, call the New York State Smokers' Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487). The Quitline offers free counseling and nicotine medications to help New Yorkers quit smoking successfully.
Call hours are: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Smokers also can receive information through the Quitline's Web site (www.nysmokefree.com). Other cessation resources: contact Beth Gero, Ph.D. at Canton-Potsdam Hospital (315-261-5436) or firstname.lastname@example.org.