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Quit smoking

Your readers probably know quitting smoking is one of the best things to do for their health. But if they need another reason to make another quit attempt, here it is: as of July 1, Washington's state cigarette tax increased by 60 cents, bringing the state tobacco tax to over $2 per pack and the average cost of a pack of cigarettes to $5.56. That means buying one pack per day for a year will cost over $2,000.

Smoking is the number one preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. In fact, inhaling lit tobacco products exposes a smoker to more than 4,000 chemicals and at least 69 carcinogens.

However, there is good news-quitting smoking has immediate and long-term health benefits, regardless of your age, or how long and how much you've been smoking.

Making the decision to quit is hard. Some people may be afraid of weight gain or consider a slip a failure. Fortunately, smokers today don't have to rely on willpower alone. Research shows that seeking support can help smokers significantly increase their chance of quitting successfully. This help may come from family and friends, health care providers, counseling programs, or through medication such as the nicotine gum, patch or lozenge. The medication can even help control weight during a quit attempt.

Washingtonians who want to stop smoking can get immediate help by calling the Washington State Quit Line at 1-877-270-7867, where they can get free advice and counseling on how to stop or by visiting www.smokefree.gov. Remember, most people make several tries before they quit successfully. Smokers shouldn't give up. A slip isn't a failure and they should try again.

Most smokers want to quit and the tax increase may be the impetus for many to finally make a quit attempt. Every smoker deserves the emotional, practical and medical support they need to do so successfully.

Thank you for helping your readers and their families live safer, smoke-free lives.

/s/ Danny McGoldrick, Director of Research for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Washington DC

. Bob Story,can be contacted at

(509) 837-4500, or e-mail him at bstory@eaglenewspapers.com

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