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Health - Smoking

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation & Prevention Program (MTCP), part of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), tackles this issue by promoting tips for kicking the habit, as well as resources for establishing smoke-free workplaces and schools.

Quitting Smoking for Good

For those looking for help to quit smoking, MTCP recommends the following strategies:

  • Select a point two to four weeks in advance to quit and immediately start managing and avoiding common triggers such as places, feelings, or people that make you want to smoke.
  • Discuss medicines and counseling programs with your doctor.
  • Call the Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline at (800) QUITNOW for confidential support and to find counseling sessions near you.

Helping Others Quit Smoking

Health-care providers and others can support a smoker who’s quitting for good in various ways.

  • Health-care providers can refer patients to the QuitWorks program by filling out the Massachusetts enrollment form.
  • Other supporters can provide assistance by:
    • Celebrating milestones such as the first 24 hours of being smoke-free;
    • Distracting smokers from their cravings by talking or walking with them; and
    • Encouraging smokers to ask their doctors about quit-smoking medicines.

Establishing a Smoke-Free Workplace

According to the Smoke-Free Workplace Law, all enclosed work environments must be free of smoke. Tips and guidelines from MTCP can help employers learn how to build a tobacco-free workplace.

  • Report violations of the law by submitting a complaint form to DPH.
  • Consider offering health plans that cover the cost of smoking cessation treatments.
  • Establish a committee to develop strategies for making the workplace tobacco-free. It’s a good idea to include employees from different departments, as well as former smokers, nonsmokers, and current smokers.
  • Create a written policy that includes tobacco usage regulations and outlines future tobacco-free goals.

Creating a Smoke-Free Home

The Massachusetts Smoke-Free Housing Project, an initiative supported by MTCP to inform tenants and landlords about how to make their living spaces smoke-free, offers guides for residents to create smoke-free living areas:

  • Landlords can post no-smoking signs, remove ashtrays, and inform tenants about smoke-free policies.
  • Tenants can ask other residents to smoke outside, suggest their landlord cover cracks or holes where smoke can enter into their living space, and request that the landlord install door sweeps to seal the gap between the door and floor.
  • Condo associations can consult with trustees and legal professionals to determine the best course of action for making common areas and individual units smoke-free.

For more information on smoke-free housing, call the Smoke-Free Housing Project hotline at (877) 830-8795.

Keeping Tobacco Out of Schools

According to the CDC, approximately 9 out of 10 smokers begin smoking by age 18. The Massachusetts Tobacco-Free School Policy Guide includes the following suggestions for educational leaders and parents to help make local schools smoke-free:

  • School officials can create a formal tobacco policy that includes smoke-free policies for students and visitors, as well as for sporting events and other activities.
  • Parents can focus on tobacco prevention education and enforcement procedures and work with school officials, such as nurses and health education teachers, to make sure the policy is being put into action.

Reporting Sales Violations

One way residents can help Massachusetts become tobacco-free is to report sales violations.

Between 1992 and 2013, the number of cigarette packs sold in the Commonwealth dropped 59 percent, according to DOR. For more tips on how to make smoking history in Massachusetts, visit MTCP’s website.

What are your tips for quitting smoking? Share them in the comments below or tweet us, @MassGov.

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