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Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii to launch new Maui event

By Staff | Nov 18, 2010

One Inity will perform at Saturday’s Maui Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii event.

KIHEI — The Maui community is invited to Kalama Beach Park on Saturday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a celebration of healthy youth.

The celebration follows the Nov. 18 American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout (GASO) educational events held in high schools throughout the state.

Saturday’s family-friendly event will feature young adults and youth from MEO Youth Services, El Buen Pastor Church Kahana, Maui Job Corps Marshallese dance group, REAL Youth bands, and to close the event, Maui reggae band One Inity.

The event will also feature food booths, youth service groups and healthcare organizations promoting healthy lifestyle alternatives to tobacco smoking.

Anna Mayeda, community manager of the American Cancer Society, is partnering with the Maui Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii, Maui Economic Opportunity, Youth Services, and REAL for programs that capture the attention of youth and their families.

For those trying to quit tobacco use, there will be help available at the event.

Tobacco use starts young and can lead to a lifelong tobacco addition.

Help is available to everyone — insured and uninsured persons — seeking nicotine replacement therapy and other cessation programs.

For more information on the event, contact Eva Valdez, Maui coordinator for the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii, at ecvaldez@tobaccofreehawaii.org.

In related news, the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline last week announced new services designed to better help residents quit tobacco use.

The new services were timed to launch in conjunction with the Great American Smokeout, an annual nationwide event created by the American Cancer Society that encourages smokers to use Nov. 18 as THE DAY to start a plan to quit.

“The Hawaii Tobacco Quitline’s new services — such as enhanced availability of free nicotine patches or gum for tobacco users — will make it possible for even more of Hawaii’s 150,000 smokers to get the help they need to put their addiction to tobacco behind them,” said Julian Lipsher, program coordinator for the Tobacco Prevention & Education Program with the state Department of Health.

When tobacco users enroll in cessation services with the Quitline, a Quit Coach will work with callers to determine if nicotine patches or gum are right for them. If so, the Quitline will provide the patches or gum for free.

These services are now available free for all tobacco users, regardless of insurance. Additionally, tobacco users can receive up to three follow-up calls from a Quit Coach to check in on the caller’s progress and to provide support in their quitting process.

Tobacco users will continue to be able to call the Quitline whenever they need extra support.

Tobacco users will also receive guidance on medication to help quit smoking and receive free materials such as the Quit Guide, which provides useful information, such as what to expect while quitting, how to avoid relapses and how to ask friends, family and coworkers for support during the quitting process.

Callers will continue to receive access to Web Coach, an interactive website where online tools can be used to track progress. Users can also complete exercises and participate in discussion forums with Quit Coaches and others who are trying to quit.

Free information and written materials are also available to family and friends who are interested in helping loved ones quit tobacco, as well as to health care professionals.

“In addition to helping tobacco users, the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline is a great, free resource to help local residents help their smoking family member or loved one quit,” said Valerie Smalley, Hawaii Tobacco Quitline’s senior supervisor-Quit Coaches.

“Our Quit Coaches are understanding and supportive, and have received extensive training in tobacco cessation, and are educated on the latest methods to successfully quit tobacco.”

Residents statewide can receive immediate help to quit tobacco use by calling the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

Quit Coaches are available Mondays through Sundays from 3 a.m. to 9 p.m. If a call is made at any other time, a live registration specialist will take down appropriate information and have a Quit Coach return the call during operational hours.

Smokers can also access the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline via the website at www.clearthesmoke.org.

The Hawaii Tobacco Quitline is funded by the Hawaii Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund. The trust fund’s dollars represent a portion of Hawaii’s Master Settlement Agreement payments, which are the result of a joint lawsuit against the four biggest U.S. tobacco companies to recover health care costs for treatment of tobacco-related illnesses paid for by taxpayers.