Smoking and vaping may put people at higher risk of complications from COVID-19, especially because they can weaken the immune system and damage the lungs. So, this is an especially good time for those who smoke or vape to try to quit.
In addition, as a result of a new law, menthol tobacco products have been removed from regular stores in Massachusetts. With menthol tobacco products unavailable and COVID-19 risks continuing, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has found a new way to help people quit. The Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline is now offering up to three gift cards totaling $50 to people who use menthol tobacco products and the Helpline’s free coaching services. Residents can call the Helpline at 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) about the program and for free coaching and support 24 hours each day, seven days a week. They can also enroll online at makesmokinghistory.org.
Helping people who use menthol products quit is especially important because the tobacco industry has strategically and successfully targeted Black, Latinx and LGBTQ+ people with menthol products. As a result of aggressive marketing practices and pressures related to discrimination and daily stressors, menthol tobacco use is high in these communities.
Massachusetts residents who use menthol tobacco products who speak with the Helpline’s supportive coaches can receive a $10 gift card after completing the first coaching call, a $15 gift card after the second and a $25 gift card after the third coaching call. In addition, up to 8 weeks of FREE nicotine patches, gum or lozenges are also available to residents who speak with a coach (with medical eligibility).
While supplies last, the offer of gift cards can motivate smokers and vapers to call the Helpline. For more information contact Edgar Duran Elmudesi at the Metro Boston Tobacco-Free Community Partnership at 617-451-0049 x549or [email protected]
Edgar Duran Elmudesi, MSW
Metro Boston Tobacco-Free Community Partnership.