With the price for a pack of smokes going up $1, now’s the time to quit

Anti-tobacco advocates are hoping the $1-per-pack cigarette tax increase that goes into effect July 1 will make it financially impossibly for people to keep smoking.

And they are eager to help smokers quit.

The American Lung Association and the Florida Department of Health both offer free counseling, either online or via phone, for smokers struggling to break the nicotine habit. Several health agencies, including hospitals, also offer smoking cessation programs, though those services are not free.

The key to quitting any addiction is motivation, said Dr. Michael Feinstein, American Lung Association program director in south Florida. Maybe it’s a pregnancy or a medical scare or a desire to keep their family healthy, but people need a pressing reason to quit.

A $1 tax increase that raises the total per-pack tax to $1.34 might be that motivation in this economy.

“Especially for those people who are unemployed or under-employed, when it comes to spending $5 a pack or spending money for dinner, then they might think this is a good reason to quit,” Feinstein said.

About 19 percent of Florida adults smoke. State analysts say 28,600 Florida residents die each year from smoke-related illnesses.

The average smoker goes through a pack a day, according to the American Lung Association. An extra $1 per pack on seven packs a week means spending an additional $364 each year on cigarettes.

Teenagers might have an especially hard time coming up with that extra cash — a good thing, considering the average Florida smoker starts between age 11 and 15.

THE FACTS

After decades of steep decline, the percent of people smoking has stayed steady in recent years. Smoking still is linked to more than 28,600 deaths a year in Florida.

Every time you use acigarettes online buy, you’re ingesting as many as 50 carcinogens, according to the American Lung Association.

Tobacco products have been linked to numerous types of cancers.

Antismoking aids, such as nicotine patches or gum, are available over-the-counter in most drugstores and can help take the edge off the addiction. Doctors also can prescribe smoking cessation medications, including Zyban and Chantix.

But if you need a extra help getting through the worst of withdrawal, free counseling is available through the American Lung Association and the Florida Department of Health:

source: www.tcpalm.com

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