Every year, millions of Floridians attempt to quit smoking. As 2010 comes to a close and Florida smokers consider making their 2011 New Year’s resolutions, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Polk County, the Polk County Health Department, and Florida Department of Health and Tobacco Free Florida can help them quit for good with free support through phone, web and in-person quit smoking resources.
On the heels of the groundbreaking U.S. Surgeon General’s recent report, it is more important than ever before to quit smoking immediately. The report emphasizes the importance of quitting early in life, in order to protect immunity and minimize the damage caused by each cigarette. The report adds no level of exposure to tobacco smoke is safe.
Although permanently quitting tobacco is very difficult, it is not impossible. Sixty-one percent of adult Floridians who have ever smoked have quit and there are more former smokers in Florida than current smokers. In 2009, about 58 percent of Floridian smokers tried to quit.
Step One: Set a Date
The first step one needs to take is to set a quit date. Once the quit date is set, cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters should be removed from the home, office and vehicle.
Step Two: Get Help
Tobacco Free Florida offers a number of free resources to help smokers quit.
- Phone: Call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a Quit Coach who will help assess the user’s addiction and create a personalized quit plan.
- Online: Enroll in online counseling with the Florida Quitline, where each user can create a personalized, web-based quit plan. Visit https://www.quitnow.net/florida to enroll.
- In-person: Central Florida Area Health Education Center provides Quit Smoking Now classes throughout Polk County. Call 1-877-252-6094 to enroll in an upcoming class.
Step Three: Keep Trying
“Quitting is only half the battle,” said Kim Berfield, Deputy Secretary of Policy and Advocacy for the Florida Department of Health. “Relapses happen, but it’s important that people keep trying and trying.”
Most successful quitters make several attempts before finally quitting permanently. In fact, the average number of attempts varies anywhere from five to more than 10.
The mission of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Polk County is to form community partnerships with individuals and organizations to educate and serve the citizens of Polk County regarding tobacco use prevention, intervention, and cessation. Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States.
“Quitting tobacco use is the most important thing you can do to protect your health and loved ones,” says Jennifer Tempel, Polk County Health Department Tobacco Program Manager.
For more information on the Tobacco Free Partnership of Polk County, contact Colleen Mangan with the Polk County Health Department at (863) 519-7900 x 11334.
ABOUT TOBACCO FREE FLORIDA
Tobacco Free Florida (TFF) is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. The program is managed by the Florida Department of Health, specifically the Bureau of Tobacco Prevention Program. TFF’s mission is to combat the pervasive problem of tobacco use in the Sunshine State, where each year, more than 28,000 Floridians die from smoking and tobacco-related diseases cost the state an estimated $19.6 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity.