Governor Susana Martinez today highlighted several free and effective resources to help New Mexicans who want to quit smoking. The American Cancer Society's annual "Great American Smokeout" on Thursday November 21, 2013 is a day when smokers nationwide are encouraged to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and then quit smoking that day. Governor Martinez encourages New Mexicans who smoke or use tobacco products to utilize free services available in New Mexico that provide helpful tools to quit and remain smoke and tobacco free.
"Quitting is hard, especially quitting cold turkey," said Governor Martinez. "The free services offered by the New Mexico Department of Health's quitline and online programs are proven strategies that can double, even triple a tobacco user's chance to successfully quit."
Tobacco users can access free medications, including patches, gum and lozenges, and free counseling and text messaging support through the statewide toll-free quitlines. 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) and 1-855-DEJELO YA (1-855-335-3569) offer telephone-based tobacco cessation services in English and Spanish with translation into more than 200 additional languages. Web-based services through QuitNowNM.com and DejeloYaNM.com are another way that tobacco users can connect to free help. Services are available 24 hours a day and TTY is available for the deaf and hard of hearing.
In New Mexico, smoking among adults decreased from 21.5% to 19.3% between 2011 and 2012, representing about 33,000 fewer smokers. There are an estimated 302,000 adult and 29,000 youth smokers in New Mexico. The Department reports about 10,000 New Mexicans accessed "QUIT NOW" cessation services and resources in the last fiscal year. Of participants enrolled in "QUIT NOW," 93% reported being satisfied with the services they received.
"Tobacco use can lead to nicotine dependence and serious health problems. Nicotine dependence is a chronic condition but effective treatments and helpful resources exist. Smokers can and do quit smoking," added Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward.
In fact, today there are more former smokers than current smokers. People who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk for disease and premature death. Although the health benefits are greater for people who stop at earlier ages, cessation is beneficial at all ages.
Governor Martinez reminded tobacco users that there is always hope to quit and that it is never too late, saying, "Whether you start small and quit for 24 hours, or you quit for life, this November 21st is your chance to take a step toward a life free from tobacco."