Saturday, April 15, 2017

Quit Smoking Today

By Elizabeth Spurrell-Huss, L.C.S.W., M.P.H., Population and Community Health, Montefiore Health System

HEALTH NEWS– This winter, Montefiore achieved Gold Star Status as part of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Tobacco-Free Hospitals Campaign. This initiative supports hospitals in NYC leading the way in creating wide-ranging smoking cessation services for patients and associates.

Now it is easier than ever to get the support you need to quit smoking. Talk with your provider, social worker, or health educator to help you get started.

1. Make a quit plan:
Develop your own quit plan or find a quit program that works for you. A quit plan combines strategies that help you stay focused, confident, and motivated to quit. You might decide to use a quit program like Plan My Quit (, or call the New York State Smokers Quit Line at 1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487 FREE) or visit today to get started.

Write down why quitting is important to you and post it somewhere you will see it often as a reminder.

2. Stay Busy:
Staying busy is one of the best ways to stay smoke-free on your quit day and for the days after. Make a list of activities you enjoy and refer to it when you have an urge to smoke. Some ideas include:
A night out with a non-smoking friend
A walk around your favorite park
A fitness class
Learn a new skill like knitting or painting
Reading a good book/watching a funny movie
Taking photos of people/places you love
Writing emails/letters to friends or family-tell them about your plan to quit!

3. Avoid Smoking Triggers:

Triggers are the people, places, things, and situations that tempt you to smoke. On your quit day and the days after, it’s best to avoid them. Here are a few tips to help you overcome some common smoking triggers:
Throw away your cigarettes, lighters, and ash trays
Avoid caffeine, which can make you feel jittery. Try drinking water instead.
Spend time with non-smokers.
Go to places where smoking isn’t allowed.
Get plenty of rest and eat healthy. Being tired can trigger you to smoke.
Change your routine to avoid the things you might associate with smoking.

4. Stay Positive:
Quitting smoking is difficult. It happens one minute… one hour… one day at a time. Try not to think of quitting as forever. Pay attention to today and the time will add up. It helps to stay positive. Go back and look at your list of reasons to quit. Your quit day might not be perfect, but all that matters is that you don’t smoke—not even one puff. Reward yourself for being smoke-free for 24 hours. You deserve it. And if you’re not feeling ready to quit today, set a quit date that makes sense for you.

5. Ask for Help:
Tell your friends and family that today is your quit day. Ask them for support during these first few days and weeks. They can help you get through the rough spots, but make sure to tell them how they can support you.
Other supports:
Explore the resources available to help New Yorkers quit smoking
Contact the NYS Smokers Quit Line 1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487 FREE)
Visit today
Visit the Quitters Circle—
Plan your quit at
Check out these Smoking Cessation Phone Apps:
The Plan Q app, available at the Apple Store and Google Play Store supports your quit smoking journey. Use code NYKB to access the app.

American Cancer Society Quit For Life app— Apple Store and Google Play Store

The American Lung Association & Pfizer’s Quitter’s Circle app— Apple Store and Google Play Store

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Free Oral Cancer Screenings

Alcohol, Tobacco & HPV16 Now Leading Causes of Oral Cancer

Early Detection of Oral Cancer Saves Lives; UCHC to Provide Free Oral Cancer Screenings in April

HEALTH- Oral cancer is not a rare disease. Approximately 49,750 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year in the United States. 

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, the disease “will cause over 9,750 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 49,750 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years.”  

The good news is that this can be prevented. Through a simple, painless and quick screening oral cancer can often be found early in its development and treated.

There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer; one is through the use of tobacco and alcohol. The other is through exposure to the HPV16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), which is now the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancers in the US, and the same one, which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. Coincidentally, the quickest growing segment of the oral cancer population are young, healthy, non-smokers due to the connection to this virus.

Who should get screened?
• Adults ages 30 to 50; considered high-risk populations 
• Those who are regular users of alcohol and tobacco
• Those who have been diagnosed with or may have been exposed to the HPV16 virus (a strain of the human papilloma virus)

What are some early indicators?
• Red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth 
• Any sore which does not heal within 14 days
• Hoarseness which lasts for a prolonged period of time

With early detection, oral cancer survival rates are high. Like other preventative safeguards you engage in when testing for cervical, skin, prostate, colon and/or breast examinations, oral cancer screenings are an effective means of finding cancer at its early, highly curable stages and it is vastly recommended that individuals make the screening part of an annual health check-up.

In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month UCHC is offering free oral cancer screening events during the week of April 17-22 from 9am-5pm.

Appointments and walk-ins are welcome.

260 E 188th St., Bronx, New York 10458

2021 Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York 10453

2101 Quarry Rd. Bronx, New York 10457

For more information about oral cancer, please log onto The Oral Cancer Foundation’s official website at  or call any one of UCHC’s dental sites located in the Bronx.