Philly to smokers: Get help to quit

    Smokers who try to quit with help are two to three times more likely to be successful. Philadelphia’s $2 million quit-smoking campaign encourages smokers to use medication, counseling, a doctor’s help or support from a loved one the next time they try to kick the habit.

    Giridhar Mallya, Director of Policy and Planning Philadelphia Department of Public Health talks about menthol and cigarettes

    Mallya says …

    About three of four smokers in Philadelphia say they want to quit smoking
    In 2008, 27 percent of adults in Philadelphia smoked—that’s the highest rate among the 10 largest cities in the United States.
    Philadelphia is second only to Washington, D.C. in the number of tobacco retailers per-capita lists stop-smoking treatment options, including free quit-smoking classes in the city.
    Some studies suggest that menthol smokers may have more difficulty quitting
    Price can discourage smokers, but cigarettes in Philadelphia are still relatively cheap. A pack costs as little as $5 or $6 in the city, compared to $8 or $9 in Chicago or $10 or $11 in New York.
    The “Breathing Room” Web videos follow four Philadelphia residents trying to quit (
    A coach can help smokers make a quitting plan and avoid triggers. Call 1-800-QuitNow (800-784-8669).
    Low-cost prescription drugs are available through the Medicaid program
    Philadelphia is tracking menthol use in the city. This year the health department added a question to a regional health survey asking about the use of mentholated cigarettes.
    TV ads are illegal, but cigarettes are heavily marketed at Philadelphia corner stores and neighborhood outlets.


    Disclosure statement: This story was produced by WHYY’s news department. WHYY’s civic engagement division is under consideration as a paid, community partner to promote Philadelphia’s anti-smoking campaign.

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