Los Angeles County Health Officials Unveil Mobile Outreach Program

April is not only tax time but the perfect opportunity to consider how much hard-earned money smokers spend on cigarettes and the health dangers caused by using tobacco products.

Every time you buy a pack of cigarettes, you tax your wallet and your health, said Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Public Health Director and Health Officer. If you smoke a pack a day, you spend nearly $1600 per year on cigarettes. Every day you continue to smoke you risk cutting years off your life, which is not the kind of deduction that benefits us during tax season or any other time.

Fortunately, for the 80 percent of smokers who want to quit smoking there are proven methods to help you kick your addiction, added Fielding. And most of the resources, information, and help are free and accessible.

LA County residents who are currently addicted to tobacco, have already quit, or want to help a friend or relative quit, can visit www.LAQuits.com for information and resources about quitting smoking. In addition, free and confidential telephone counseling to help quit smoking is available to all Californians by calling 1-800-NO-BUTTS. The service also provides experts available to help youth quit and assists people who are trying to quit chewing tobacco.

Quitting smoking is not easy, but it is possible especially with professional help, added Fielding. There are experts who can provide smokers with the encouragement, tools, and techniques to quit.

Studies conducted by researchers at the 1-800-NO-BUTTS helpline have shown that smokers who used the telephone counseling service were twice as likely to quit smoking as those who tried to quit on their own.

Additional resources for those trying to quit smoking or thinking about it, include:

www.TobaccoFreeCA.com – a service of the California Department of Health Services with quitting resources, discussion boards and encouraging e-cards.

www.LastDragLA.com – information on Los Angeles County cessation classes specifically for gay and lesbian smokers.

– American Cancer Society – cessation resources at (800) ACS-2345 or www.cancer.org

– American Lung Association – quitting assistance available at (800) 586-4872 or www.LungUSA.org

– American Heart Association – tobacco cessation information at (800) 242-8721 or www.AmericanHeart.org

– American Legacy Foundation’s BecomeAnEX.org – a nationwide service to help smokers quit, www.BecomeAnEX.org

www.SmokeFree.gov – resources, including online chat with smoking cessation specialists, from the National Cancer Institute.

– Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Tobacco Control and Prevention – information and data on tobacco use in LA County, www.LAPublicHealth.org/tob