SOURCE: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

November 19, 2009 14:16 ET

LA County Helps Smokers Quit With Free Nicotine Patches and Gum

Residents Are Encouraged to Take Advantage of Free Nicotine Patches and Gum During the Great American Smokeout

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - November 19, 2009) - The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is encouraging residents to quit smoking for at least 24 hours as part of the American Cancer Society's 34th annual Great American Smokeout. To help smokers with their quit attempt, LA County is offering free nicotine patches and gum to residents to help put them on a path to a healthier life.

During the Great American Smokeout, smokers can join thousands of residents as they begin their quit smoking attempt. This year, they can get additional help by picking up their free two-week starter kit of nicotine patches or gum. People who smoke have nothing but a deadly addiction to lose, and everything to gain -- including years to their lives.

To prepare for the Great American Smokeout, people who are ready to quit can pick up their free two-week starter kit of nicotine patches or gum at any Ralphs Pharmacy in LA County. Residents can visit for a map of all of the participating Ralphs Pharmacies; information and resources about quitting smoking are also on the Web site. Residents can also visit LA County's Facebook page (keyword: LA Quits), which includes information about LA County's smoking cessation efforts, as well as a Twitter page (@LAQuits) that features cessation tips.

LA County residents who are currently addicted to tobacco or want to help a friend or relative quit can call 1-800-NO-BUTTS, California's free helpline that offers confidential telephone counseling, self-help materials, and referrals to local support groups. Telephone counseling has proven to double a smoker's chances of successfully quitting. The helpline also assists those trying to quit chewing tobacco and has experts to help teens and pregnant women quit. Helpline counselors are also available to speak with people in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and Vietnamese. TDD/TTY Hearing Impaired services are also available.

Cigarette smoking is one of the toughest addictions to stop and it takes people several attempts to quit successfully. There are resources and support available to ensure that this quit attempt is successful and current smokers should take advantage of them. There is no better time than now to quit -- when you know that you are not alone.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, with more than 440,000 people dying each year or one out of seven deaths in LA County. Tobacco-related diseases cost LA County $4.3 billion each year. Smoking greatly increases the risk for many types of cancer, heart disease and stroke. Smokers are also 10 times as prone to peripheral vascular disease, or narrowing of blood vessels in the legs, stomach, arms and kidneys.

The first Great American Smokeout took place on November 18, 1976 when the California Division of the American Cancer Society successfully encouraged nearly one million smokers to quit for the day. The following year, the American Cancer Society began promoting the day nationally.

The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000 employees and an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do, please visit

Additional Resources

In addition to, Los Angeles County smokers can also get quit smoking help from the following resources:

  -- LA Quits on Twitter -- quit smoking tips and news

  -- LA Quits on Facebook -- quit smoking tips and news

  -- California Smokers' Helpline -- free and confidential counseling
     services.  Visit for information or to use the
     click-to-call technology.  Or call for services in-language:
     English: 1-800-NO-BUTTS (1-800-662-8887)
     Spanish:1-800-45-NO-FUME (1-800-456-6386)
     Cantonese: 1-800-838-8917
     Korean: 1-800-556-5564
     Mandarin: 1-800-838-8917
     Vietnamese: 1-800-778-8440
     TDD/TTY Hearing Impaired: 1-800-933-4TDD (1-800-933-4833)

  -- -- a service of the California Department of Public
     Health with quitting resources, discussion boards and encouraging
     e-cards.  This site also features the click-to-call technology.

  -- American Cancer Society -- cessation resources at (800) ACS-2345 or

  -- American Lung Association -- quitting assistance available at
     (800) 586-4872 or

  -- American Heart Association -- tobacco cessation information at
     (800) 242-8721 or

  -- American Legacy Foundation's -- a nationwide service to
     help smokers quit,