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News Release

 
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   September 20, 2001

George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., MD, MPH
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Marilyn Riley
(609) 984-7160

New Jersey Takes to the Airwaves to Help Quitters Win

-- New Jersey's quit smoking services reach out to a broad audience
on network television -

TRENTON -Testing completed by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services' Public Health Originally set to debut last week, the Department of Health and Senior Services starting airing this week its new fall broadcast advertising campaign encouraging New Jersey smokers to quit. The campaign marks the first time that New Jersey's no- and low-cost quit services - New Jersey Quitnet (nj.quintet.com); New Jersey Quitline (1-866-NJ-STOPS) and New Jersey Quitcenters, face-to-face counseling clinics - are being promoted on television.

"In New Jersey, we have among the best roster of quitting services in the nation, and it is critical that we get this important information to all the smokers in our state," said Health and Senior Services acting Commissioner George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., MD. "Our comprehensive approach is currently helping thousands of smokers to stop for good, and we want to spread the news. These commercials will help us to deliver the strong message that help is at hand."

Spirited animation, lively music and colorful graphics distinguish the three commercials in the innovative "You Have Enough Things Telling You" campaign, sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). The 30-second spots convey the thoughts of, for instance, a smoker's dog, coffee table and heart ("If you don't quit, I will"), and end with acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco's reminder: "You have enough things telling you to quit smoking. We'll just tell you how."

"Two out of three New Jersey smokers want to stop smoking. We also know that it can take a number of attempts before smokers succeed in their goal. We want people to know that they have a variety of approaches to meet their individual needs," said Dr. DiFerdinando.

The commercials can be seen on major network shows in the New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia area, including Good Morning America, Regis and Kelly, The View, Soul Train and Entertainment Tonight, as well as during fall premieres, such as Dharma & Greg, NYPD Blue, The Weakest Link, E.R. and Saturday Night Live.

Additionally, the quit services are being promoted for the first time with 60-second radio spots, which had always been set to start airing September 17. The radio commercials will have the same theme as the TV spots.

New Jersey Quitnet, www.nj.quitnet.com, is a FREE innovative online resource that provides comprehensive, individually tailored smoking cessation options, peer support, and access to the advice of trained counselors. Registered New Jersey Quitnet users can access an array of quitting guides to help plan a quitting strategy, referrals to local programs, and information about optional treatments 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

New Jersey Quitline, 1-866 NJ-STOPS (1-866-657-8677), offers toll-free telephone counseling in 26 languages Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Trained counselors work with callers at every stage in the quitting process, developing treatment plans that meet the needs of the individual.

New Jersey Quitcenters, the latest addition to New Jersey's customized smoking cessation services, are counseling clinics with services available on a sliding fee scale according to income. They are currently located at 15 sites throughout the state. People can call NJ Quitline or log onto NJ Quitnet to find a location near them.

Baseline studies have shown that smoking kills 13,000 New Jersey residents annually and related medical costs in the state are approximately $2.6 billion per year, according to the national Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. About 18 percent of New Jersey adults (over 18) smoke; nearly 19 percent of all high school students smoke daily. Nearly 40 percent of high school students smoke at least once a month.

According to the latest Federal Trade Commission Report, tobacco marketing efforts by the tobacco industry reached a record high of $8.24 billion in 1999 (the year after the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement) - or $22.5 million daily and a 22 percent increase over the prior year.

New Jersey's Quit services are just one of many initiatives sponsored by the Department of Health and Senior Services and funded with money from the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement between 46 states and the tobacco industry. New Jersey is one of only 15 states that are directing a substantial portion of these funds -$30 million - toward smoking prevention and cessation. New Jersey's Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program is designed to reduce the sickness, disability and death among New Jerseyans associated with the use of tobacco and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.

The approximately $2.4 million advertising campaign was developed for the Department of Health and Senior Services by BBDO in Minneapolis.

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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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