January 1, 2004
In September 2002, BUILT reported that the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) had begun a special tobacco cessation program for firefighters. In the aftermath of 9/11, firefighters had started to use tobacco at an increased rate. More than 23% had re-started smoking while 29% had been smoking more. Concerned about the increased health risks of smoking combined with the toxics firefighters are exposed to, the FDNY, with the help of the American College of Chest Physicians through their CHEST Foundation, began a cessation program.
After 3 months 64% of participants were tobacco free.
After 6 months 39% were tobacco free.
These firefighters reported 10 times the success rate of individuals using "cold turkey" and two to three times the rate of those using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). The cessation program included a 12-week class that included counseling and NRT - mostly the patch or gum. The president of the CHEST Foundation stated, "We commend our firefighters and rescue workers for overcoming yet another great challenge and hope that their courage and resolve to quit smoking will inspire other smokers to do the same."
Did your New Years resolutions include quitting? You don't have to do it alone. Talk to your doctor and/or call the California Smokers Helpline (1-800-NO-BUTTS) for more information and help. May the brave men and women of the FDNY inspire your efforts for a healthy, happy --and smoke-free -- new year.
SOURCE: The CHEST Foundation, American College of Chest Physicians, 10/29/2003