The Westchester County Department of Health reminds residents that the Great American Smokeout – held this Thursday – is a great day to quit smoking or vaping.

Lung cancer kills more people than any other cancer, and cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is underscored in November by the American Lung Association during Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, said: “If you are still smoking or vaping, now is a great time to quit, on the day of the Great American Smokeout. Join a support group, and tell your friends and family so they can encourage you.”

To reduce tobacco use in Westchester, the County Health Department is partnering with nine community organizations to support County Executive George Latimer’s Westchester Tobacco Free program. Starting in January, the following programs will launch:

  • Youth Ambassadors in the Know Better, Live Better program will lead discussions with their peers about the risks of tobacco and vapes;
  • Through games and activities, the Tar Wars program, from the American Academy of Family Physicians, raises awareness among fourth and fifth graders about tobacco marketing to kids and emphasizes the consequences of tobacco use;
  • The Center for a Tobacco-Free Hudson Valley will train community members to lead Freedom From Smoking, an American Lung Association program, with its specialized support groups to empower adults with knowledge and tools to overcome tobacco addiction.
  • The County Health Department will help Freedom From Smoking participants access nicotine replacement therapy.
  • The Department also has added staff and ramped up enforcement of the Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act program in partnership with the Public Safety Park Ranger cadets and collaborates with the County Police on a school-based prevention program.

The American Cancer Society has promoted the third Thursday in November as the Great American Smokeout for more than 40 years. New York State offers starter free Nicotine Replacement Patches. Residents can ask their doctor about prescription drugs that can help. Here are some other resources:

  • NYS Smokers’ Quitline - 1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487)
  • Centers for Disease Control - 1-800-QUIT-NOW
  • American Cancer Society support groups - 1-800-277-2345
  • American Lung Association - find a clinic near you, call 1-800-LUNGUSA
  • Find Meeting | Nicotine Anonymous ( for online or phone meetings