Put Quitting At Top Of Resolution List

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Department of Health Acting Secretary Everette James today urged Pennsylvania smokers to make quitting smoking their top New Year's resolution for 2009.

"The start of a new year presents an opportunity to make positive changes in our lives," said James. "While quitting smoking is rarely easy, having a plan and seeking support can greatly increase your chances of succeeding. Our department is here to lend support and provide resources to help smokers make 2009 the year they will quit for good."

A 2007 study conducted by the department showed more than half of all smokers (58 percent) had tried to quit for at least one day in the past year. According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control, the average smoker tries to quit at least seven times before succeeding. Numerous studies demonstrate that quitting success rates double for smokers who receive support.

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"Smoking is a major health and economic issue. Given the current state of the economy, many Pennsylvanians are looking for new ways to save money," said James. "The costs of cigarettes add up. By giving up smoking, you'll be healthier and wealthier -- the average smoker will save almost $120 every month."

For help, visit www.DeterminedToQuit.com. The Web site provides guidance in developing a quit plan; a quit calculator and video blogs of other Pennsylvanians sharing their own stories about quitting. There is also information for friends and family members who want to offer support to someone who is trying to quit.

Support is also available by calling 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669). The toll free number is available 24 hours a day.

The Department of Health's anti-tobacco efforts are intended to help individuals to quit -- or never start -- using tobacco products, and to curb the retail sale of tobacco to minors.

Under a state law that took effect in September, smoking is now prohibited in most public places and workplaces across Pennsylvania. The new law was a component of Governor Edward G. Rendell's health care reform agenda.

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