Smoking Cessation Program Posts Impressive Quit Rates

Article excerpt

ORLANDO, FLA. -- An aggressive smoking cessation program that has enrolled more than 200 New York City fire-fighters has succeeded in getting most of them tobacco free at 3 months.

The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center had an immediate adverse effect on smoking patterns, a survey of 1,500 firefighters showed.

Overall, "23% of the firefighters who were former smokers went back to smoking. And another 29% of current smokers said they increased smoking in the days immediately following the attack," said Dr. David J. Prezant, codirector of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) tobacco cessation program, which was launched in August 2002. He presented 1-year results at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians.

He reported on the 214 FDNY cigarette smokers who enrolled in the 12-week cessation program. "Our program takes a multimodal approach. Whatever works, we try," he said.

Methods include nicotine replacement therapy (with a patch, inhaler, or spray) and other medications, used as needed, as well as behavior- and stress-management support from smoking cessation experts. Participants also are directed to a Pfizer Inc.-sponsored interactive Web site designed to present personalized information and quit tips.

Perhaps most importantly, "we enlist the support and help of friends and family, and we also run a program for spouses," he said. …