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Coalition offers free smokers QUIT kits

Nearly 1,200 Hawaii residents die each year from diseases that can be attributed to smoking, according to the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii, and the Tobacco-Free East Hawaii coalition is committed to educating smokers on the need to kick the habit to live longer and improve their quality of life, starting with cleaner and healthier lungs.

This year, the East Hawaii group is giving community members even more incentive to quit.

“We truly support every tobacco user’s journey in changing their lifestyle from that of smoking to becoming a nonsmoker, and it is usually an ongoing journey, not a quick jaunt,” according to coordinator Sally Ancheta. “We will continue our annual tradition of distributing free Survival (QUIT) Kits early in 2014 by promoting a New Year Resolution event: New Year=New Start!”

With partners from Hui Malama Ola Na Oiwi Native Hawaiian Health System, the Hamakua Health Center, the University of Hawaii at Manoa Cooperative Extension Service, the UH-Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy and many more, volunteers will pass out 75 free kits containing information on smoking cessation programs in East Hawaii.

Each QUIT Kit contains information and supplies from the 1-800-QUIT-NOW Hawaii Tobacco Quitline, a stress-relief toy, buttons, stickers and program information to help a tobacco user navigate the quitting process.

According to Ancheta, “The smoker’s first step in quitting smoking is making a commitment to quit. Most smokers need seven to 10 quit attempts before they are completely tobacco-free.”

The program is committed to helping smokers through the ups and downs of the quitting process, every step of the way.

“With new laws being implemented this year to raise the age of sale of tobacco products to age 21, this would be the ideal time to set the goal to become a non-smoker in 2014 and start the journey with us,” Ancheta said.

The first-come, first-served hand-out sessions will be 6:30-8 a.m. Friday at the Hilo Shopping Center off of Kilauea Avenue, across from Happy Valley Seafood Restaurant in the parking lot, and 2-5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, at Malama Market in Honokaa.

The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii works to build, sustain and support a statewide coalition to create a tobacco-free Hawaii.

For more information, visit It is a program of the Hawaii Public Health Institute,

For more information to help you quit smoking today, contact


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