News Release from the office of Senator Carlos Uresti

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2008
CONTACT: 512-463-0119

Texas Department of State Health Services Helps Texans Quit Smoking

It’s a New Year and many of us take this opportunity to wipe the slate clean with a promise to better ourselves with a resolution. Maybe it's eating better or exercising. Maybe you want to spend more time with family. However, if you are one of the 3 million Texans who smoke, the state has resolved to help you quit.

This year the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will provide $550,000- up from the $250,000 of last year- for the American Cancer Society's Quitline. The toll-free number 1-877-YES-QUIT offers a multilingual service which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist with chewing tobacco and smoking cessation.

Each caller is paired with a personal phone counselor who will help the smoker establish a quit date and tackle everything from early cravings to possible relapse situations, all in six scheduled sessions.

They also offer self-help literature and local support programs to keep you on track long after your Quitline experience.

Of course the best way to quit is to never start, which is why I introduced a bill this past session that would raise the legal age to buy tobacco to 19. Senate Bill 448 would have helped to push tobacco out of high schools, where students can easily sway an older friend to make a purchase for them.

"Ninety percent of all adult smokers begin smoking while they are in their teens. Studies indicate that the longer we keep teens from smoking, the fewer adult smokers we will have in the future. I will keep pushing for this legislation; it is good public health policy, and it is an excellent health promotion tool aimed at protecting our youth," Uresti said.

Quitline is not just for people who already use tobacco products. Information is also available for parents who want to prevent their kids from picking up the habit.

“The Decision is Yours” is a pamphlet containing graphic comparisons of a healthy lung and a smoker‘s lung, which DSHS and the American Cancer Society hopes will deter youth from smoking and potentially becoming one of the 24,000 Texans who die from tobacco-related illnesses each year.

Check out the websites www.yesquit.com and www.cancer.org , both of which have helpful information and tips to help you quit and get on your way to a happier, healthier New Year.

Carlos I. Uresti is the senator from State Senate District 19, a 23 county area stretching along the U.S.-Mexico border, from San Antonio to El Paso County, including all or part of the following counties: Bandera, Bexar, Brewster, Culberson, Crockett, El Paso, Edwards, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Medina, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Ward, and Winkler. Covering 55,000 square miles, the district contains 62 school districts and spans two time zones.

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For more information, please contact Vanessa Macias Ballou or Arthur Reyna at (512) 463-0119.

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