New Site Launched to Help Smokers Quit

New Site Launched to Help Smokers Quit

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John Daley ReportingNeed help kicking the tobacco habit? Now there's a new place to turn. There's a new element to the campaign to encourage people to give up smoking.

As a series of new ads points out--it's all focused on the word quit: Quit Bellyaching, Quit Making Excuses, Quit Procrastinating; and if you want to quit smoking check out the website called Utah Quitnet.

For years the anti-smoking movement has publicized the risks of lighting up. Still a staggering number of people smoke. In the U.S., tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death.

400,000 people per year die of tobacco related causes. That’s more than AIDS, alcohol, homicide, suicide, motor vehicle accidents and illegal drugs combined.

Even in Utah, the state with the lowest per capita rates, 200-thousand adults smoke cigarettes. That's roughly one in ten Utahns.

Former smoker Shannon McQuade says the obstacles to stopping are considerable.

Shannon McQuade, Former Smoker: "I realized I had a problem when I tried quitting and I couldn't sleep at night and I had headaches and I had to have a cigarette before I could go to sleep."

Today a new tool in fighting the smoking addiction was unveiled. Utah's Health Department announced the start of the website called Utah Quit Net, which has a chat room and wealth of information and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Dr. Scott Williams, Deputy Director, Utah Dept. of Health: "When you think that one out of every 10, one out of every 12 people that you associate with is subject to this health problem, you can see we still have a long ways to go."

Indeed, the tobacco industry spends 65 million dollars on marketing each year in Utah, twenty times more than anti-smoking advocates. But the anti-smoking side has powerful arguments in their favor -- he known dangers of tobacco on human health and the fact that 83% of smokers want to quit.

The website could be a powerful new resource.

Shannon McQuade, Former Smoker: "As I was looking through it they have all kinds of forums of ways you can talk to other people about depression or even things that are not smoking related, where you don't always have to be focused on smoking. Because smoking is sometimes a symptom of another problem."

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