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State's 'Be Free' Anti-Tobacco Campaign Lends Smokers a Helping Hand

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 General News J E 4
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Jan. 7 The Florida Department ofHealth's Tobacco Free Florida campaign is lending a helping hand to the 28,000Floridians who smoke to quit -- for good. Free cessation aids are availablefrom the Florida Quitline (1-877-U-CAN-NOW) in the form of counseling andnicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) such as patches, gum and lozenges. An adcampaign blanketing the state is promoting these resources in an attempt topositively influence tobacco users to permanently alter their behavior.

The new "Be Free" campaign message is about empowering tobacco users tobreak the cycle of addiction. Statewide ads targeting adult and pregnantsmokers will reach millions on television, radio and in movie theatres andprovide resources for support and words of encouragement like "be healthier,""be wealthier" (pack-a-day smokers can save approximately $1,500 a year byquitting) and "be strong."

According to Kim Berfield, Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department ofHealth, the campaign is recognizing that tobacco dependency is an addictionand providing tobacco users with tools for empowerment, which are necessaryfor long-term success. She also emphasizes the importance of appealing tosmokers on an emotional level.

"Quitting is not easy and requires courage and difficult action; it is adaily struggle which requires compassion from a smoker's family, friends andcommunity. People do not view themselves as statistics, therefore it isimportant for the campaign's message to have an emotional appeal and toprovide tools and resources that provide self-empowerment," Berfield said.

Another way the campaign is reaching smokers is through its newly launchedwebsite www.floridaquitline.com which features a Quitline introduction videoshowing callers what they will experience during the quitting process. Thesite also allows users to schedule a Quitline call and recommend the cessationservice to their friends or family. The main campaign site,www.tobaccofreeflorida.com, will be updated to include video journals thatfollow a diverse group of tobacco users throughout their quest to stop usingtobacco, a smoking cost calculator, which determines the amount a tobacco usercan save if they quit and provide positive alternatives to spend money on(i.e., gym membership), and Myth Mashers, a tool that dispels commonmisconceptions which may lessen a tobacco users desire to quit.

ABOUT TOBACCO FREE FLORIDA

Tobacco Free Florida, the statewide youth prevention and adult cessationcampaign launched in February 2008, has reached millions of Floridians throughits advertising, online social media, grassroots initiatives, educationaloutreach and public relations efforts. Funded by the State's tobaccosettlement fund, the campaign engages culturally and economically diverseaudiences with its high impact messaging.

For more information on Tobacco Free Florida, please visitwww.tobaccofreeflorida.com.

SOURCE Tobacco Free Florida
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