HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Department of Health encouraged residents Thursday to take steps to quit smoking as part of the Great American Smokeout, an initiative of the American Cancer Society.
According to the CDC, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Quitting smoking is a process, and success may look different for different people. There are many ways to quit smoking, and some work better than others.
“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. “Many adults who are using cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and cigars want to quit smoking, but it is not easy and takes time, a plan, and support. All 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 quitline 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, gum or lozenges).
Between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020, 13,623 residents used services from the PA Free Quitline to help them quit smoking. During this same time period, 8,733 tobacco users enrolled in PA Free Quitline counseling. An additional 521 existing clients who had completed intake in previous fiscal years continued to receive services.
The Great American Smokeout is an annual event that takes place on the third Thursday in November to encourage 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.
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.