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Free Nicotine Gum, Patches Offered In Florida, No Strings Attached

no smoking sign
Ken Hawkins via Flickr

Floridians who want to kick the smoking habit now have even easier access to free nicotine-replacement therapy through the Tobacco Free Florida program.

Since it started a decade ago, the program is celebrating a smoking rate that continues to drop every year.

According to the CDC, 17.6 percent of Florida's adults, or about 3.5 million people, were smokers in 2014. By counties, that's: 

  • Saint Johns County: 14.7%
  • Duval County: 18.1%
  • Nassau County: 17.9%
  • Clay County: 18.9%
  • Putnam County: 22.1%
  • Baker County: 18.2%

At the same time, the rate of smoking among young people ages 11 to 17 is dropping, from 4.3 percent in 2013 to 3.8 percent in 2014. 

Just like is has for years, Tobacco Free Florida still offers group quit counseling, as well as online and by-phone coaching, and free nicotine replacement therapy, like gum or patches.

But before, people had to engage in one of the coaching methods to receive the nicotine replacement. Not anymore.

Bureau Chief Valerie Lacy said, “Some people came to us and said they wanted to be able to get the nicotine replacement therapy without the group quit, phone quit or web quit. So we’re just making that available to them. It is a free service.”

Another new feature is a text-to-quit option, which provides coaching throughout the day, she said. Tobacco Free Florida is funded through lawsuit settlement money from cigarette makers.

Visit the Quit Your Way website for more information. 

Photo: "No Smoking" by Ken Hawkins used under Creative Commons license.

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP