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Pinellas County Organization Wants To Make A Community Goal To Stop Smoking

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Pinellas, Fla. (January 27, 2014) – Bogeys, stokes, smokes, hookah pens, and vape pens. There are many different nicknames for cigarettes and e-cigarettes but they all can cause the same thing: high blood pressure, difficulty breathing, increased risk of cancer, and peripheral artery disease. An organization located in Pinellas County, called the LiveFree! Coalition, wants to remind the community that with a new year comes the chance to stop smoking and start a healthy lifestyle.

According to, nicotine is one of the most heavily used addictive drugs in the U.S., and the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the U.S. Cigarette smoking accounts for 90% of lung cancer cases in the U.S., and about 38,000 deaths per year can be attributed to secondhand smoke. E-Cigarettes may not contain tobacco but they do contain nicotine, which can affect brain development in children and teens. E-cigarettes are also not an approved smoking cessation device. The average smoker takes in 1 to 2 mg nicotine per cigarette when inhaling.

While many people think switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes will ease the process of quitting they are actually just staling the process. Plus, not only do e-cigarettes contain high levels of nicotine but they are also becoming a huge concern for law enforcement. Due to the fact that the devices emit little sign of what’s inside, teens are using them to smoke marijuana. In fact, the percentage of American teenagers using other drugs through such devices more than doubled, from 2011 to 2012. E-cigarettes are already banned in several countries and it’s not long before the same goes for the U.S. Soon, all smoking may be banned.

Nicole Kelly, a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist for non-profit Gulfcoast North Area Health Education Center in Land O’ Lakes said, “A lot of times when people are quitting, as soon as they have a relapse they give up. When relapse happens, just know the actual quit attempt is a success in itself and to keep trying. Relapse can hinder someone from trying to quit again. Nicotine dependence is a chronic condition which may require multiple quit attempts.”

Additionally, smoking is expensive and highly addictive. Whether you’ve been smoking for 20 years or a week, quitting can be tough. However, with the right tools and mindset you can kick the habit. Although it won’t be easy, in order to stop smoking all you have to do is START. Follow this plan from to begin quitting today:

S- Set a quit date.
T- Tell co-workers, family, and friends that you are planning to stop smoking.
A- Anticipate and plan for challenges. You will go through nicotine withdrawals and intense cravings. If you are prepared for them they’ll be easier to get through.
R- Remove all traces of from cigarettes and tobacco products from your house. Many people think if they transition from cigarettes to e-cigarettes it will make quitting easier. However, the high levels of nicotine in e-cigarettes will just delay the process.
T- Talk to your doctor about getting help. It’s okay to lean on other people for help in quitting smoking.

Within just 20 minutes of quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure go down. Within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide levels in your body go back to normal. Within 24 hours, your risk for heart attack will already have begun to drop. Also, remember there are people available to help you quit.

Further to help Tampa Bay quit, “we hold multiple classes throughout the Counties we service and we try our best to reach to as many people as possible. The hardest thing is getting people to attend the class; many people don’t know that the classes are available and are free and we provide a free four week supply of nicotine replacement therapy which are the patches, gum or lozenges,” Kelly explains, “The classes are geared for someone who is ready to quit.”

The Gulfcoast North Area Health Education Center (AHEC) provides free services to help you quit any form of tobacco through in-person group classes and free nicotine-replacement therapy (including patches, gum or lozenges; while supplies last and if medically appropriate). The program is funded by the Florida Department of Health.

About LiveFree! Coalition
LiveFree! Coalition raises awareness about the harmful effects of substance abuse among youth, young adults and adults in Pinellas County. By offering trainings, advocacy, town hall meetings, a Speaker’s Bureau, environmental strategies and awareness events, LiveFree! encourages Pinellas County families to live safe, healthy and drug-free. For more information, visit our website at or email us at


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