Healthy Androscoggin: Greatest Valentine’s gift is quitting smoking


LEWISTON — If you’re a tobacco user, consider giving a gift sweeter than chocolate and much more fragrant than a dozen red roses this Valentine’s Day. Partnership For A Tobacco-Free Maine and Healthy Androscoggin are offering creative ideas for presenting your loved one with the gift of becoming tobacco-free. From gift-wrapping your last pack of cigarettes to sending an e-postcard message, you can show your Valentine that you’re committed to your health and that of those around you by giving up tobacco for good.

People who are in relationships with tobacco users often have concerns for their partners’ health. Gum disease and bad breath can make a Valentine’s Day kiss an unpleasant experience, and longer-term hearing, vision and immune problems can prevent any kind of fun on the holiday. Tobacco-users even endanger their partners’ health through second-hand smoke.

“Valentine’s Day is one of the best times of year to quit,” says Emily Dooling of Healthy Androscoggin. “End-of-the-year holiday stress is behind you, it’s still early enough for New Year’s resolutions and the mid-winter cold weather makes smoking outdoors uncomfortable.”

Mainers who would like help planning out their Valentine’s Day quitting process, or who would like more information about the support available to tobacco users wishing to quit, should visit PTM’s Quitlink at

The Quitlink also offers a free e-postcard message about your plans to quit that you can email to your friends and family. They in turn can use the Quitlink to send back supportive e-postcard to you as well. If you’d like to give your Valentine your commitment wrapped with a bow, there are many creative ways to present the gift of a tobacco-free lifestyle. Healthy Androscoggin recommends:

* Create or purchase a “No Smoking” sign;

* Frame your tobacco-free oath;

* Mark a calendar with daily goals for reducing your tobacco use and highlight a final end date;

* Create a booklet of fun coupons — “Good for one tobacco-free kiss!” or “Good for one night of movie-watching without smoke breaks!”

More information about support for quitters and the negative health effects of tobacco use is online at Partnership For A Tobacco-Free Maine’s website,, Healthy Maine Partnerships’ website, and Healthy Androscoggin’s website,