St. Lawrence County tobacco free group suggests tips to help smokers quit
Friday, December 28, 2012 - 5:26 pm

There are still plenty of tobacco smokers in St. Lawrence County, and if you are planning to make 2013 the year you become tobacco free, you are more likely to be successful if you prepare for this significant life change.

While it is hard to quit, it’s not impossible, and the St. Lawrence County Tobacco-Free Community Partnership believes it could be easier with these five tips:

1. Make a plan – decide when you’ll quit and what you’ll need (help, medication, support, etc.)

2. Get yourself and your surroundings ready – get rid of your cigarettes and ashtrays, stock up on gum and other things you love.

3. Tell everyone – line up your support system by telling your family, friends and coworkers and asking for their help.

4. Calculate how much money you’ll save by not buying cigarettes and plan to reward yourself with something special.

5. Beware of the triggers that remind you of smoking and prepare for them. Once you recognize your triggers, you can be ready for them or even avoid them.

For a personalized quit plan, support and a free starter kit of nicotine replacement therapy such as the patch or gum, call the New York State Smoker’s Quitline at 1-800-NYQUITS or visit www.nysmokefree.com.

It is also important to remember the need to prevent our kids from becoming addicted to nicotine. Our kids believe they are invincible, but there are nearly 390,000 kids under 18 currently living in New York State who will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.

Once teens start to smoke, they find it hard to quit. A recent survey by Legacy and Seventeen magazine, found that nearly one in 10 teen girls in the U.S. are current smokers and most want to quit. However, most who tried to quit found it more difficult than they expected and less than half were successful in their attempts.

In New York State, more than 132,000 high school students smoke and every year an additional 22,500 kids under 18 become new daily smokers. According to the Surgeon General, tobacco industry marketing causes youth tobacco use. Tobacco companies have enlisted convenience stores as their most important partners in marketing tobacco products. They pay retailers to display tobacco products in the most visible locations of the store, around cash registers and near checkout lines, where kids are continually exposed to them.

We have also seen an increase in the number of stores selling tobacco in St. Lawrence County. With the recent addition of tobacco to the products offered at Family Dollar (Dollar General has announced plans to do the same) we have seen the addition of six retail stores in which our children will be exposed to tobacco product marketing while they shop with their families.

The St. Lawrence County Tobacco-Free Community Partnership urges people who are passionate about preventing our kids from becoming tobacco company statistics, you might contact local elected officials to remind them that youth smoking is still a problem and educate them about the need to protect our kids from tobacco marketing.

More information can be found at www.tobaccofreenys.org, or by contacting the St. Lawrence County Tobacco-Free Community Partnership at 262-4945.