Quit Smoking, Help Yourself

For 99 packs of cigarettes, you could have an $800 LCD TV.

That is one bit of information being relayed to smokers who want to quit.

On Friday, a new quit-smoking program was launched at the St. Susan Center, 31 Water St., Jamestown. The program is called Help Yourself, which is a partnership between St. Susan Center; Community Helping Hands; Tri County Tobacco Free Program; the NY State Smokers’ Quitline; and Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-C-I Chautauqua County.

For the next six weeks, there will be a display at St. Susan Center indicating what people could buy with the money they spend on buying cigarettes. For example, for 25 packs of cigarettes, someone could purchase a $200 bicycle. For the costs of 12 packs of smokes, someone could buy a $100 birthday present. The average cost for a pack of cigarettes is around $8 in New York state.

”It is astonishing how much money you burn up while you smoke,” said Goodell. ”Smoking is the largest single source of premature death in New York state.”

Laurie Adams, Tri County Tobacco Free Program director, said the display will show smokers a new way of looking at how much they spend on their habit.

”It is a tough addiction to break, but here is your reward,” she said about the televisions and other items people can buy instead of cigarettes. ”We’re helping people be more efficient with their dollars.”

The program will assess the needs of a smoker, refer them to a quit coach and help them save for household or clothing items. If someone would like to participate in the program, people at St. Susan Center will help them fill out a NY State Smokers’ Quitline fax-to-quit form. The form will be sent to a quit coach who will assist the smoker in stopping. The program includes a worksheet to fill out that will indicate what the smoker can buy with the money they save from not smoking.

Community Helping Hands will offer matching funds at their Gateway Center Depot store for people participating in the program.

”If a smoker would like to set up an account with us, we will double their dollars for use at the Gateway Center’s Depot store,” said the Rev. Amy Rohler, Community Helping Hands director.

Marilyn, a worker at St. Susan Center, said she has been a smoker for 42 years and will be participating in the program.

”I think it is a good idea,” she said about the Help Yourself quit-smoking program.

For nonsmokers, the program will assist people with opening a savings account to save money for necessary items.

For more information on the program, contact Tri County Tobacco Free Program at 665-2310.