The woman, only identified as Marie, said she was diagnosed in her early 40s with a disease caused by smoking, She has been smoke free since 2006 when she called the city's annual nicotine patch and gum program.
"I started smoking at a time when I thought I was invincible and nothing could hurt me. Before I knew it, I was addicted," Marie, a national spokeswoman for quitting smoking and the face of this year's city campaign, said in a statement. "And at a pretty young age, I developed a disease caused by smoking. For all of you still smoking, young or old, the time to quit smoking is now. I used the patches to quit -- they work."
Eligible enrollees in the nicotine patch and gum program will receive a NYC Quits Kit booklet and as much as a four-week supply of free patches and/or gum depending on number of cigarettes smoked daily.
In addition, enrollees will receive follow up calls from the Quitline, as well as a relapse prevention email.
The program, in partnership with the New York State Smokers' Quitline, will run through April 1. Since the free nicotine patch and gum program began in 2006, it has helped almost 300,000 adult New Yorkers quit smoking, city health officials said.
It contributed to the city's multipronged effort to reduce the prevalence of adult smoking to 15.5 percent and youth smoking to 8.5 percent.
To coincide with the patch and gum giveaway, the New York City Health Department is scheduled to run a series of powerful television ads featuring Marie.
City officials suggested those wanting to quit smoking should:
-- Stand firm on their decision to quit and think about the benefits.
-- Pick a date to quit. Write it down in a quit smoking journal.
-- Create a smoke-free environment. Eliminate all cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays.
-- Ask for support and encouragement.
-- Find a quit buddy.