Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Health today encouraged residents to take steps to quit smoking as part of the Great American Smokeout, an initiative of the American Cancer Society. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
“Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases and reduces the health of smokers in general,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking. Many adult cigarette smokers want to quit smoking, but it is not easy and takes time and a plan. Pennsylvanians can call the PA Free Quitline 24 hours a day, seven days a week to be connected with services and resources that will help them stop smoking.”
The Department of Health partners with National Jewish Health to provide the quit line to all Pennsylvanians. Residents call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669), or 1-855-DEJELO-YA (335-3569) (Spanish), to receive free services, including:
Up to five coaching sessions by phone;
Unlimited calls to the PA Free Quitline as needed;
Educational materials on quitting tobacco use; and
Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) for qualified callers (up to eight weeks of patches).
Between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019, 16,362 residents used services from the PA Free Quitline to help them quit smoking. During this same time period, 9,957 tobacco users enrolled in PA Free Quitline counseling.
According to CDC, cigarette smoking accounts for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure. If smoking continues at the current rate among youth in the country, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die early from a smoking-related illness.
The Great American Smokeout annual event encourages smokers to start a journey toward a smoke-free life. The theme, “You don’t have to stop smoking in one day. Start with day one” encourages smokers to join others across the country in taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk. The Great American Smokeout takes place on the third Thursday in November.
Additional information on how to quit smoking, and on the dangers of e-cigarette and tobacco use can be found on the Department of Health’s website at health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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