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David Morgan
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Health Department Motivates Spanish Speaking Smokers to Quit

November 12, 2014 - Nicotine Cessation - Healthy Living

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Anyone who has smoked can tell you, quitting is hard, and even saying that, hard may be an understatement.

Mark Twain said, “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it a thousand times.” Maybe you’ve tried to quit, too.

The New Mexico Department of Health reports about 16 percent of Spanish-speakers in New Mexico smoke. While the number of smokers has decreased nationwide, public health experts say it hasn’t gone down as far as it could or should.

Cigarette smoking adds to a person's risk for heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of death for Hispanics in the United States.

That’s why the Department of Health announced this fall the launch of its new Spanish-Language anti-tobacco campaign: 1-855-DEJELO-YA. Twenty-nine percent of New Mexican residents primarily or exclusively speak Spanish in their home. Research shows that a significant portion of this population is not aware that cessation services are available in their first language.

The New Mexico Department of Health looks to change that with the 1-855-DEJELO-YA campaign.

1-855-DEJELO-YA is a unique campaign created to be culturally relevant to the Spanish-speaking population here in New Mexico,” said Benjamín Jácquez, Nicotine Use Prevention and Control Program Manager. “We are thrilled to officially launch the campaign and share it with New Mexico residents.”

The 1-855-DEJELO-YA campaign is built on the concept of perseverance, as expressed through the struggles of USA Olympic Silver Medalist, Leo Manzano.

Leo is a Mexican-American track star and the epitome of perseverance in the world of athletics. Despite winning the silver-medal in the 2012 Olympics in London, England, Leo lost both his sponsorship and coach. Undeterred he continues to train and recently won the United States Outdoor Championship as he prepares for another Olympic appearance.

The campaign includes television, radio, outdoor billboards, bus and bus shelter posters, and also live appearances by Manzano to help promote the cessation services provided by the New Mexico Department of Health.

“What I like best about this campaign is it’s not about scaring people about what could happen if you don’t quit smoking cigarettes, it’s about showing New Mexicans how they can channel their inner strength and conviction in life and how they can apply it to quitting smoking,” said Jácquez.

Once smokers find that inner focus, the benefits of quitting are almost instantaneous. According to US Surgeon General Reports:

  • 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drops.
  • 12 hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • 2-3 months after quitting, your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
  • 1 year after quitting, the risk of heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker.
  • 5 years after quitting, the risk of lung cancer is half that of a person who is still smoking.

The health benefits continue to add up when or years to come for those who quit smoking. To learn more about how to do it, visit the website.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.

Versión en Español

En un esfuerzo para hacer que nuestros comunicados de prensa sean más accesibles, también tenemos disponibles una versión en español. Por favor presione el enlace de abajo para acceder a la traducción.

El Departamento de Salud Motiva a Los Fumadores de Habla Hispana a Dejar de Fumar