The Great American Smokeout: Today’s the Day to Quit

Every year in November, the American Cancer Society hosts The Great American Smokeout – a day to encourage smokers to quit or to begin putting a plan in place to quit smoking. For a smoker, cutting out cigarettes is never easy, but there are many resources available to help encourage success.

Did you know?

Last December, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a rule that requires all of the country’s public housing authorities to go smoke-free by July 30, 2018. This means no smoking inside apartments, indoor common areas, and within 25 feet of buildings. As the largest public housing authority in the country, going smoke-free is a major undertaking that won’t happen overnight. That’s why since HUD’s announcement, NYCHA has been hard at work creating its policy, Smoke-Free NYCHA, with input from residents, employees, and partner organizations, including the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Read how quitting smoking improved the health and lifestyle of Dawn Burgess, a NYCHA resident and employee:

Dawn Burgess
Dawn Burgess

How I Quit Smoking

Dawn Burgess, Morrisania Air Rights Resident, Community Associate in NYCHA’s Resident Engagement Department

I was a smoker for almost 38 years. I stopped smoking in March 2016. What made me stop smoking? I have asthma. I got sick and had to be admitted to the hospital. I couldn’t get any air in. I had to sleep with a sleep apnea mask for three or four nights. I finally said, “I’m done!” It was either quit or be on oxygen for the rest of my life.

I didn’t set a stop date, but I did start smoking less. I used to smoke a pack and a half a day; I brought it down to half a pack, then to six or seven a day. I used the Chantix starter kit for the first two weeks and then went cold turkey. I will say that in order to stop smoking you have to be ready in mind, body, and soul. All you can do is try.

It’s been 19 months since I stopped smoking, and I’m breathing better now. My two daughters celebrated when I quit. They’ve seen EMS coming to get me, they’ve seen me attached to machines at the hospital, so they are very happy I quit. I’m also saving money by not buying cigarettes, so I’ve been able to take my daughters on a couple of cruises. I’ve also picked up new hobbies, including learning how to bake; I especially like baking cookies and cheesecakes.

If You’re Ready to Quit

It helps to prepare yourself to quit smoking. People are more likely to stay smoke-free with support.

NYC Quits provides free support to help you quit for good, such as information on how to quit, how to deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms, and quit-smoking programs close to your home. Text NYC QUITS to 877-877.

For more information and resources on quitting smoking, call 311 or go to and search for “quit smoking.”

Visit NYC Quits:

How to Quit Smoking:

Call or visit NYS Quitline: 866-NY-QUITS,

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