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Nov. 15, 2011

DHEC encourages smokers to quit on Great American Smokeout

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Great American Smokeout offers tobacco users an opportunity to “quit for keeps” starting Nov. 17, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today.

"According to research done by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 70 percent of adult smokers want to quit, and they want to find out how they can do it," said Katy Wynne, tobacco cessation consultant in DHEC’s Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control. "DHEC encourages South Carolinians who smoke or use other forms of tobacco to take advantage of the services we offer to help them stop tobacco use on this day set aside for quitting by the American Cancer Society.

"Quitting is hard, but tobacco users can increase their chances of success with help through the S.C. Tobacco Quitline, a free phone-based coaching and Web-based learning support service available to all state residents," said Wynne, who also manages the state-based quitline.  "Participants are matched with a quit coach who helps them develop a personalized quit plan, provides guidance in choosing FDA-approved medicines, and gives ongoing follow-up support."

According to Wynne, the program has helped more than 20,500 of the state’s tobacco users since it began in August 2006. The Quitline is available from 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. seven days a week by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). Tobacco users who do not have health insurance might be eligible to receive nicotine gum or patches provided through the Quitline.

Wynne said DHEC also offers healthcare providers a free training that covers the best ways to help patients successfully quit tobacco. The online course can be accessed at:

Wynne also recommends the following tips for success once the tobacco user decides to quit:

  • Set a quit date. Circle the day on your calendar, and create a plan that includes personal goals and rewards for reaching those milestones.
  • Throw out all the cigarette packs or tobacco products in your house and vehicle.
  • Stock up on oral substitutes – sugarless gum, carrot and celery sticks, hard candy, cinnamon sticks, coffee stirrers, straws, and/or toothpicks.
  • Talk to your doctor. Given your medical history and the number of years you've smoked, he or she will be able to recommend a cessation medication.
  • Look for patterns. If you find that you always crave a cigarette during your mid-morning coffee break, try changing your pattern.
  • Tell friends and family you're quitting. They can often be your biggest cheerleaders. Ask them to drop an occasional e-mail, postcard or phone call to keep you motivated.
  • Look into joining a support group or call the S.C. Tobacco Quitline. There are people just like you who are also interested in talking about their tobacco addiction.

For more information about the S.C. Tobacco Quitline and other cessation resources, visit


For media inquiries:
Betsy Crick – (803) 545-4496
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Adam Myrick – (803) 898-3884
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