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Healthcare Experts Highlight the Dangers of Smoking NYS Department of Health Launches New Anti-Smoking TV Ad Campaign

August 1, 2011

Contact: Jessica DiMeo
American Heart Association


The New York State Department of Health (DOH) will begin airing a statewide television campaign today that illustrates the hefty price New York’s smokers pay for their addiction. The ads will air through Sept. 25, 2011.

The DOH campaign focuses on the health impacts and personal losses of smokers. It features real-life ex-smoker Ronaldo Martinez, who had throat cancer as a result of his tobacco addiction and lives with a tracheotomy to breathe. The three, 30-second ads include Renaldo at a baseball park and at a swimming pool speaking passionately about the activities he used to enjoy, and a powerful spot focusing on the serious health consequences of emphysema. (To view the TV ads, go to: http://www.nysmokefree.com/. Funded by a federal grant, the TV ads are intended to drive smokers to call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487).

“Quitting is the number one thing a smoker can do for his or her health,” said Jean Cacciabaudo, MD, chief of cardiology at Southside Hospital and president of the American Heart Association’s Long Island Board of Directors. “Although cigarette smoking alone increases your risk of coronary heart disease, it greatly increases risk to your entire cardiovascular system. Almost immediately after you quit smoking, your lungs and other smoke-damaged organs start to repair themselves. We know that quitting is hard to do, but with help from the New York State Smokers’ Quitline and your doctor, people can be successful.”

The Quitline is a free resource that’s available to all NYS residents, and it offers a range of services – including a free starter kit of nicotine patches and trained Quitline specialists who help smokers develop quit plans – that are tailored to the caller’s needs.

“Cigarette use is likely to cost smokers the things that they value the most,” said Patricia Folan, RN, director of the Center for Tobacco Control at the North Shore-LIJ Health System . “Smoking will take away your ability to pursue the athletic activities you love. It will cost you an exorbitant amount of money, both for cigarettes and ensuing healthcare needs. And, it’s a product that, if used as directed, will most likely cost you your life.”

“The quit smoking television ads that aired across New York State in August and September of 2010 generated a 32 percent increase in call volume for the Quitline when compared to the same period in 2009,” said K. Michael Cummings Ph.D., MPH, Director, New York State Smokers’ Quitline Chair, Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute. “The Quitline also distributed 38 percent more nicotine patch starter kits in August and September 2010 as compared to the same months in 2009. Many smokers want to quit smoking, and the ads remind them that help is available.”

New Yorkers can call the Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487). Call hours are: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. During the hours that the Quitline is closed there are taped messages offering support and help for quitting smoking. The Smokers’ Quitsite (www.nysmokefree.com) is available 24 hours per day.

To contact North Shore-LIJ’s Center for Tobacco Control, please call 516-466-1980.


  • Media Contacts:

    Betty Olt, Director, Special Projects
    (516) 465-2645
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