Home | Donate | Careers | Contact Us | Physicians | 1.888.STJOES1
About St. Joseph's
Home - News Media Center - News Releases

This Thanksgiving, Don’t Quit Cold Turkey Without Your Doctor’s Help


Syracuse, NY (November 20, 2017) –While the holidays are a time for celebration with family and friends for many, there can also be stress associated with holiday preparations and gatherings. In fact, according to a study by the American Psychological Association, more than a third of people feel an increase in stress over the holidays – and that often leads to an increase in smoking. 

Whether it’s due to the colder weather or the stress that comes with the holidays, smoking habits are impacted. Around the holidays, people may start smoking, resume smoking after previously quitting, or increase how much they smoke. According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco takes more than 28,000 lives in New York each year and afflicts nearly 600,000 New Yorkers with serious disease directly attributable to their smoking. Quitting cold turkey or resisting the urge to smoke over the holidays is challenging – but a physician can help. 

“We know from research that 70% of smokers want to quit – but only 7% of them will be able to achieve it on their own,” said Christopher Owens, MS, C.A.S. HSMP, director of the Central New York Regional Center for Tobacco Health Systems. “With the help of a physician, that success rate increases to 30%.” 

Special Note for smokers with diabetes: Managing diabetes during the holidays can be difficult enough, but smoking with diabetes can increase the risks for health complications. In addition to causing lung, heart and blood vessel damage, smoking also raises blood sugar by making the body more resistant to insulin. According to the CDC, “No matter what type of diabetes you have, smoking makes your diabetes harder to control.” 

Having a physician’s support for tobacco cessation – the process of quitting the use of tobacco – improves people’s ability to quit through a range of support and treatment options that may include medication and counseling. Physicians are familiar with the various treatment options available and are able to recommend a tobacco cessation plan that is tailored to an individual’s needs, therefore, more likely to be successful in helping him or her quit smoking. 

For a free personalized quit plan, talk to your doctor. In addition to talking to your doctor, the New York State Smokers’ Quitline is also available – this hotline has helped more than one million New Yorkers quit smoking. The Quitline can offer a variety of resources and support including phone coaching, automatic quit messages to your mobile, landline or email, and a free starter kit of nicotine patches for eligible smokers. Contact the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS or www.nysmokefree.com.  

About St. Joseph’s Health

St. Joseph’s Health is a non-profit regional health care system based in Syracuse, N.Y., providing services to patients throughout Central New York and northern Pennsylvania. From primary to specialty to home care, to our Magnet-recognized hospital, and in collaboration with our community partners, St. Joseph's Health is advancing the health of the communities we serve through an expanding range of healthcare services to ensure our patients achieve optimum long-term health. Ranked by Consumer Reports among the top 15 heart surgery centers in the country, U.S. News “Best Regional Hospital” and a 15-time winner of the National Research Corporation Consumer Choice award, St. Joseph’s is widely recognized for quality, value and delivering the highest patient satisfaction. St. Joseph’s Health is affiliated with Franciscan Companies and St. Joseph’s Physicians and is a member of Trinity Health

About The New York State Smokers’ Quitline

The New York State Smokers’ Quitline (1-866-NY-QUITS), based at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), provides free quit coaching and nicotine patches to New York residents who want to stop smoking or using tobacco.  Services available through the Quitline include a free nicotine patch starter kit; quit coaching, self-help materials, motivational messages and daily tips. The Quitline can be reached at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. (taped messages of support available in off-hours). An online smoke-free community is available 24/7 at www.nysmokefree.org, and additional tips and resources can be found at www.facebook.com/NYQuits and www.twitter.com/nysmokefree

###