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BU Employee Credits University For Helping Him Quit 30-Year Smoking Addiction

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BINGHAMTON, NY -

Tobacco Free Broome and Tioga honored over 20 local businesses and organizations for their efforts in making the community smoke free.

They were recognized Thursday for the Great American Smokeout, an annual event put on by the American Cancer Society every November to encourage smokers to either quit, or make a plan to quit.

Approximately 22% of Broome County residents smoke, 8% higher than the rest of the state.

While quitting is hard, the businesses and organizations recognized are doing all they can to help their employees quit.

One in particular, Binghamton University, was the reason behind a 30-year smoker finally putting cigarettes in the past.

Mike Kulik, 63, works at BU Dining as a Production Lead, and has been a smoker since the age of 23.

“If you can’t quit the first time, try again like I did. I’m on the right road where I will not start.”

Kulik has tried to quit ten times, but the nudge that made a difference came from his employer when they announced the campus would be smoke-free.

“I’m there for a good 10 hours straight, so being smoke-free you have to think about well how am I gonna have a cigarette? So it was just much easier for me to quit than try to find ways around the system.”

BU notified workers a year in advance, and started a campus-wide smoking cessation campaign where they offered free nicotine patches and counseling.

“I don’t figure out my day of when I’m gonna have my next cigarette. Financially, I’m saving well over $300-$400 a month. I feel better, I get up in the mornings and I don’t smell like a cigarette. There’s a lot of good benefits by not smoking.”

Tobacco Free Broome and Tioga’s major goal is to keep cigarettes out of the hands of young adults.

“95% of smokers start before the age of 21, so if we can focus on preventing tobacco initiation, and then supporting those who are current tobacco users, it’s very important to help decrease tobacco use.” - Deborah Medzef, Central New York Regional Center for Tobacco Health

If you’re looking to quit smoking but don’t know where to start, call the New York State quit line for free counseling at 1-866-NY-QUITS or visit nysmokefree.com.