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Smokers Get A Free Chance To “Kick Some Butts”

June 18, 2009

Los Angeles, CA – Californians wanting to "kick the habit" can take the first step for free. A campaign is underway to help Los Angeles County residents stop smoking. The "L.A. Quits" campaign will give away 30,000 starter kits of nicotine gum and patches.

Smoking is the number one cause of preventable deaths in the United States. In Los Angeles County, one in six deaths is related to tobacco, says physician Elaine Batchlor with L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation's largest public health insurance plan.

"Trying to quit smoking is very difficult, and trying to do it without any help or support is not likely to work – quitting 'cold turkey' doesn't usually work."

Batchlor says smoking is not only a potentially deadly habit, it's also an expensive one. A person who smokes a pack a day will spend about $2,000 a year.

The kits will be handed out at participating Ralphs supermarkets while supplies last. A person can double their chances of quitting by using the nicotine replacement patches and gum - and by doing one other thing, Batchlor says.

"There's a counseling line called the California Smoking Helpline: 1-800-NoButts. That's another very helpful tool to have: support from the 'quit line' as well as from family and friends."

More information is available at www.LAQuits.com and 1-800-NoButts.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA