Modified: November 15, 2017 4:50pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Gretchen Galley, Tobacco-Free Erie-Niagara
716-465-0167 (Mobile); 716-845-1300, X4207 (Office)
Mary C. St. Mary, Erie County Dept. of Health
716-253-3925 (Mobile); 716-858-4941 (Office)
Erie County Encourages Tobacco Users to Quit during Thursday’s Great American Smokeout
To prepare for quitting: Expert advice, support and one-one-one quitting consultations available
BUFFALO, NY – November 15, 2017 – Why wait to New Year’s Eve to make a positive resolution? That is the question Dr. Gale R. Burstein, MD, MPH, FAAP, Erie County Commissioner of Health, and Anthony G. Billoni, Director of Tobacco-Free Erie-Niagara at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, will ask at 2:00 p.m. today as they call upon Buffalonians and Western New Yorkers to quit using tobacco products and live healthy, tobacco-free lives by participating in the Great American Smokeout this Thursday, November 16.
Joining Burstein and Billoni in a brief kickoff ceremony at the Buffalo and Erie County Central Library downtown will be 97 Rock radio personality, Dave “DJ” Jickster, a former smoker who knows all too well the toll tobacco takes. He will share his quit journey, along with the challenges and successes he experienced when he made his plan to kick tobacco’s butt.
In addition to the press event, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., public health educators from the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) will offer one-on-one quitting consultations and hand out helpful guides and resources. This will include a facts and tip guide on smoking cessation developed by the Tobacco Control program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. These materials are also routinely available at the Tops and Wegmans Pharmacy locations throughout Erie County.
"Tobacco use continues to be a public health concern, for smokers and non-smokers alike,” says Burstein. "Smoking is an addiction and quitting is definitely not easy. The annual Great American Smokeout is a great opportunity for Erie County residents who smoke to take that difficult first step to quit by asking for help. I encourage my healthcare provider colleagues to offer the necessary counseling and medication support to smokers who want to quit.”
Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. About half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of the habit. Each year more than 480,000 people in the U.S. die from illnesses related to tobacco use. This means smoking causes 1 out of 5 deaths in the U.S. annually.
Yet, because tobacco is one of the strongest addictions one can have, about 40 million Americans adults still smoke, including 18.8% of adults in Erie County. The reason: tobacco is addictive, and quitting is a process. It starts with a plan, often takes time and requires a lot of support.
“The most important thing smokers can do to improve their health is to quit cigarettes and other forms of tobacco,” said Billoni. “As leaders in promoting health and wellness, we are here to provide support, from the first steps of making a plan to living a healthier, tobacco-free life.About the Great American Smokeout
The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting—even for one day—smokers will take an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.
About Tobacco-Free Erie-Niagara
The New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control funds Tobacco-Free Erie-Niagara to increase support for New York State’s tobacco-free norm through youth action and community engagement. Efforts are evidence-based, policy-driven, and cost-effective approaches that decrease youth tobacco use, motivate adult smokers to quit, and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke. Tobacco-Free Erie-Niagara is a part of Roswell Park Cancer Institute.