Dr. Richard F. Daines, New York state commissioner of health, says Thursday's Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, is a good day to call the New York State Smokers' Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS, or 1-866-697-8487 -- a free, confidential program that provides proven smoking services to New York state residents who want to quit. Quitline hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
"It's an ideal time to take advantage of the free resources that are available to help you quit smoking, including the quitline and an online quit smoking program called Breathe at nysmokefree.com," Daines says in a statement.
If smokers don't quit today, Daines advises to:
-- Set a quit date and mark it on your calendar. Get rid of ashtrays, lighters and cigarettes.
-- Visit your doctor for support and advice.
-- Make a list of reasons why you want to quit and a list of people who will support you.
-- Avoid triggers that make you want to smoke, including alcohol, caffeine and other smokers.
-- Try a brisk 30-minute walk at least four days a week to improve health and mood.
-- Consider using a safe nicotine alternative, such as replacement patches, gum or lozenges, which can double your chances of quitting.