ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 32.4 million Americans still smoke. In New York, there are more than two million smokers, according to the New York State Department of Health.
Added anxiety or worry because of the COVID-19 pandemic could cause people to turn to smoking for stress relief but people with preexisting conditions, including smoking, are more prone to severe illness from the COVID-19 virus.
The Great American Smokeout, a day the American Cancer Society created more than 40 years ago to encourage people to quit smoking, is on Thursday, November 18. Saint Peter’s Health Partners (SPHP) supports the Great American Smokeout.
Since April SPHP’s The Butt Stops Here has been offered virtually to those looking for support quitting smoking. Director of Community Health Programs, Erin Sinisgalli, said the amount of people who have been participating in the virtual program has been surprising.
The program has been successful, especially reaching those in rural areas or those who cannot drive, and right now registration is free. Participants have said it’s a good time to quit because they have the extra time and some are worried about serious complications if they contract COVID-19, according to Sinisgalli.
Successfully quit smoking or vaping
- Set a quit day
- Choose a quitting method (cold turkey or a gradual reduction)
- Talk to a doctor about medicines that help people quit smoking
- Create a plan for the quit day and every day after that include healthy snacking and ways to stay busy
- Get rid of all tobacco products including lighters, matches, or vape
Source: The American Heart Association