Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

November 16, 2022
Contact: Beth Cefalu, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                 Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert encourage residents to use the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout® on Thursday, November 17, as the day you commit to quitting smoking or any other forms of tobacco products.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. No matter your age or how long you've been smoking, quitting improves health immediately and over the long term. Giving up smoking can be hard, but it is one of the most important actions you can take to prevent diseases such as heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other chronic diseases!

"The Rockland County Health Department can help you develop new healthy habits to improve your health and to protect your family from secondhand smoke through its low-cost quit smoking program called Put It Out Rockland. The program also offers nicotine replacement products, which can double your success at quitting smoking. Consider enrolling today," said Dr. Ruppert.

Put it Out Rockland is available to anyone who lives, works, or attends school in Rockland County. You can choose the one-on-one sessions where you meet with a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist three times over a 6-week period or a small group program that would be ideal at a worksite or community group. Groups meet four times over a 5-week period for 30-45 minutes each session.

Here are some simple steps to prepare to quit:

  1. Call the New York State Smokers' Quitline: (1-866-697-8487) to order your free two-week supply of nicotine replacement patches and visit for quitting assistance or to get "quit-tips" sent to your smartphone.
  2. Track your smoking: Write down what's going on right before you light up, note your mood, and how badly you want that cigarette. You will see that some cigarettes mean more to you than others. Choose not to smoke the ones that you really don't need by waiting five minutes. Chew a piece of gum or eat a piece of fruit instead.
  3. Make a quit plan and share it with your friends and family: Once you have identified your smoking triggers, such as drinking coffee, driving, drinking alcohol, or feeling stressed – make a plan to change. For example, drink tea instead of coffee, clean your car, so it smells good, empty your ashtray, and add an air freshener. Choose not to drink alcohol and choose not to be around people who smoke and drink. Plan to replace your smoking time with fun activities like reading, taking a walk, or doing another physical activity, and ask your family and friends for support. A daily phone call, email, or text message can help you stay on course.
  4. Stock up on healthy snacks: like water, juice, nuts, fruit, low-fat yogurt, or vegetables like carrot sticks and celery to have instead of your cigarette. Substitute sugarless mints, gum, or cinnamon sticks when you feel like lighting up.
  5. Throw away your cigarettes: On the evening before your quit day, gather up all your cigarettes, wet them down under the faucet of the sink, and throw them away. When you wake up in the morning, put on one of your patches and start your quit plan. Remember, you should not smoke while wearing the patch.

For more information about the Put It Out Rockland Tobacco Cessation Program, call the Health Department's Tobacco Treatment Specialist at (845) 364-2651 or visit For more information about the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout®, visit