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Today Show and American Legacy Foundation(R) Team Up to Help Smokers Call it Quits

Today Calls It Quits to Profile Three Parents as They Quit Smoking

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Legacy Foundation is collaborating with NBC's Today Show to help three parents quit smoking and motivate families nationwide to follow their lead. The three-part series launches today and will continue through March.

Throughout the series, viewers will witness the challenges and successes of three parents who are attempting to end their tobacco addictions using three different techniques. Each smoker will create a comprehensive quit plan, seek quit coaching and social support and use medication or other forms of therapy. The three participating smokers are: Kim Clark of Baltimore, MD, Gregory Roberts of Upper Marlboro, MD and John Puglisi of Clifton, NJ.

Currently, 43 million Americans smoke and 70% report wanting to quit. Former smokers have reported making an average of 8-11 quit attempts before they were successful long term.

The American Legacy Foundation's quit smoking program, EX(R),, supported by the National Alliance for Tobacco Cessation, is built on the premise of helping smokers "re-learn their life without cigarettes" by first identifying their triggers -- the things in their daily life that make them want, or feel the need, to smoke. The interactive Website features action-oriented tools and information to help smokers prepare for quitting by developing a personalized plan. The site offers a virtual community, where smokers share personal stories and best practices about their quit attempt to help encourage others wanting to make the decision to quit. Each of the quitters profiled in Today's series will also talk about their own personal struggles and viewers will have an opportunity to witness their quit attempts.

"Today Calls It Quits aims to provide parents who smoke with every tool in the arsenal they need to quit," said Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC's Chief Medical Editor. "Nicotine addiction impacts not only their own health but that of their children so we hope our viewers who smoke will be motivated by this series, follow the lead of the smokers we profile and finally quit for good."

"Quitting smoking is the single most important lifestyle change you can make," said Dr. Cheryl Healton, president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation. "Parents are role models for their children, so if they smoke, their children are twice as likely to smoke as well. Secondhand smoke and its residue negatively affect young children especially, so we are thrilled to be working with Today on this important series to help families lead healthier, tobacco-free lives."

Recent research from the Social Climate Survey conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Mississippi State University in November, 2008, indicates that:

  • 63.4% of smoking parents reported that their child had been exposed to any secondhand smoke in the past week.
  • Only half (53.5%) of parents who smoke prohibit smoking inside of their home.
  • When asked about exposure in their home and car specifically, 27% and 21% reported that their child had been exposed to secondhand smoke in their home and vehicle in the past week, respectively.
  • Compare that to only 4.3% and 1% of nonsmoking parents, and one can see a clear disparity.

Young children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at a higher risk of developing asthma, ear infections, and cavities. Infants are at a higher risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

The Today Calls It Quits series will air on January 29 and 30 with on-air follow-ups in March. Online components will play a prominent role in the series with invaluable information on smoking cessation from the EX(R) campaign ( for smokers on the and Web sites. Smokers to be profiled on the series include:

Kim Clark, of Baltimore, MD, is the mother of two girls and is quitting for them. She has vowed that they will never touch a cigarette and knows as a mom that she has to set a good example.

Greg Roberts, 32, of Upper Marlboro, MD, has been a "closet smoker" for several years. Prior to his full-time job as a school counselor he worked as a minister of music for several prestigious "mega-ministries." Due to the financial crisis, Roberts has had to commute to a full-time position in Hampton, VA, while his wife and young son remain in the Washington, DC area, adding stress that results in making quitting even more difficult.

John Puglisi, 43, of Clifton, NJ, works in Manhattan. Puglisi currently smokes a pack of cigarettes a day and has been trying to quit for two years. His entire family is behind him, hoping that this time will do the trick.

The American Legacy Foundation(R) is dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use, especially among vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the toll of tobacco, through grants, technical assistance and training, partnerships, youth activism, and counter-marketing and grassroots marketing campaigns. The Foundation's programs include truth(R), a national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as contributing to significant declines in youth smoking; EX(R), an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use; and a nationally-renowned program of outreach to priority populations. The American Legacy Foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. Visit

EX(R) is a new public health campaign presented by the National Alliance for Tobacco Cessation, a collaboration of the nation's leading public health organizations and 16 states. The campaign will build smokers confidence in quitting smoking and guide them to useful resources that foster successful quit attempts. EX is the culmination of several years of research and testing, combining an understanding of the power of nicotine addiction with messages that resonate with and motivate smokers toward behavior change. The EX approach is peer to peer and focuses on re-learning life without cigarettes, targeting the activities that prompt smokers to light up at the same times every day. The campaign, which began airing nationwide on March 31, 2008 includes television, radio, online, out-of-home advertising and a state-of-the-art, interactive Web site ( with tips and tools for quitting including personalized quit plans, and a virtual community where smokers can share stories and strategies about their experiences quitting. Founding members of the NATC include the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the National Cancer Institute, the American Legacy Foundation, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, C-Change, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and clinical partner, the Mayo Clinic.

SOURCE American Legacy Foundation
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