BUFFALO — The New York State Department of Health (DOH) gave Western New Yorkers a look at its new ad campaign highlighting the price smokers pay for their addiction at a press conference today at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI). The 30-second spots, which began airing statewide August 1, urge smokers to call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline.
“Cigarette use is likely to cost smokers the things that they value the most,” said Kimberly Bank, RN, MS, Project Director for the Tobacco Cessation Center of Western New York, which is based at RPCI. “Smoking will take away your ability to pursue the athletic pursuits you love. It will cost you an exorbitant amount of money, both for the product and ensuing healthcare needs. And it’s a product that, if you use it as directed, there’s a good chance it will kill you.”
The DOH campaign, which was funded by a federal grant, consists of three ads running through September 25— Renaldo (Baseball), Renaldo (Swimming) and Emphysema — that illustrate the physical impacts that two longtime smokers have suffered as a result of their tobacco use.
Representatives from the American Heart Association (AHA) joined with the Tobacco Cessation Center and DOH for the regional launch of the campaign, highlighting the connections between smoking and heart disease. “Quitting is the number-one thing a smoker can do for his or her health,” said Michael D. Banas, MD, FACC, FASNC, a cardiologist with Buffalo Heart Group and member of the AHA Western New York Advisory Board. “Cigarette smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease by itself. When it acts with other factors — high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes — it greatly increases risk.”
“I know firsthand how much smoking can take from you,” says Shirley Worthington, a former smoker who spoke at RPCI. “I lost my beloved mother in 2007 due to her being a lifelong smoke, and I also lost my dog due to my own very heavy smoking. I want to help people avoid what my family and I have gone through — and continue to go through — because of my cigarette use.”
The Quitline, 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487), is a free resource that’s available to all New York State residents, and it offers a range of services tailored to the caller’s needs, including a free starter kit of nicotine patches and trained Quitline specialists who help smokers develop quit plans. Call hours are Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Taped messages offer support and help for quitting smoking during off hours, while the Smokers’ Quitsite, www.nysmokefree.com, is available 24 hours a day.
The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.