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Metro Creative Connection

Ditch the drink for a greater chance to become tobacco-free

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Tue, Apr 13th 2021 02:30 pm

Throughout Alcohol Awareness Month in April, the New York State Smokers' Quitline encourages tobacco users to curb alcohol intake during the quit-process

Guest Editorial by the New York State Smokers' Quitline

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a national movement designed to reduce the stigma surrounding alcoholism and provide those struggling with useful resources and recovery tools. Much like overcoming alcoholism, becoming tobacco-free can be a challenge yet is achievable through proper support. The New York State Smokers' Quitline encourages those who both smoke and drink to take charge of their health in small steps – first by consulting a health care professional and second by speaking with a Quit Coach at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487).

Those seeking to become and stay tobacco-free can improve their odds by curbing their use of alcohol. While it may seem daunting to do both, many successful Quitline clients agree the quit-process is much easier without alcohol. Taking deep breaths, going for walks, and calling friends are healthy alternatives for building confidence as a nonsmoker and likewise are effective for addressing alcohol dependency. These tips and additional helpful information are available at nysmokefree.com and through the Quitline's social media channels.

Conversely, alcohol is a common relapse trigger for those trying to quit smoking and may worsen the harmful effects of tobacco. For at least the early weeks of the quit-process, the Quitline recommends switching to nonalcoholic drinks and avoiding establishments with alcohol in order to help focus the mind on weaning the addiction to nicotine.

The Quitline recommends tobacco users consult a health care professional to discuss tobacco use and alcohol consumption as a first step of a tobacco-free journey. For additional support, the Quitline's Quit Coaches are available seven days a week beginning at 9 a.m. by calling 1-866-NY-QUITS. These highly trained and caring professionals incorporate motivational interviewing techniques to empower tobacco users to develop personalized quit plans. Most callers will qualify to receive a free starter supply of nicotine replacement therapy medication via mail. In addition, for the nearly 1.9 million New York state residents who report having a substance use disorder – such as alcohol addiction, the Quit Coaches provide enhanced services to ensure greater success in becoming tobacco-free.

A healthier lifestyle without tobacco and alcohol begins with a conversation. This April during Alcohol Awareness Month, the Quitline encourages all New York state residents to take the first step by talking to a health care professional and calling 1-866-NY-QUITS.

The New York State Smokers' Quitline is a service of the New York State Department of Health and based at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. It is one of the first and busiest state quitlines in the nation, and has responded to nearly 3 million calls since it began operating in 2000. The Quitline encourages nicotine users to talk with their health care professionals and access available Medicaid or health insurance benefits for stop-smoking medications. All New York state residents can call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) for coaching and resources, free of charge, seven days a week beginning at 9 a.m. Visit www.nysmokefree.com for more information.

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is a community united by the drive to eliminate cancer's grip on humanity by unlocking its secrets through personalized approaches and unleashing the healing power of hope. Founded by Dr. Roswell Park in 1898, it is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in upstate New York. Learn more at www.roswellpark.org, call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or email [email protected].

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