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'Krewe de Quit' is Louisiana's latest effort to curb smoking

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A group of health organizations trying to help Louisianans quit smoking has formed a krewe in the Mardi Gras tradition. The new Krewe De Quit is an online initiative that brings smokers together around the shared bonds of a krewe. Ochsner Clinic’s Dr. W. Brooks Emory has been a pulmonary care specialist for 45 years. He says tobacco is ten times more addictive than heroine, which makes it very difficult to break the habit. He says it helps to have people doing it with you.

“It’s group psychology. It’s to try to endorse the fact that people are proactive to try and help people quit smoking,” Emory said.

One in every four adults in Louisiana smokes. It makes the state sixth in the nation for smoking prevalence. Emory says he sees about 2,500 patients a year, and 40 percent have illnesses that are related to smoking.

“Basically, what we’re trying to do ultimately is have no one smoke, but that’s probably pie in the sky. Any percentage drop is a positive, and a realistic goal is 21 percent,” Emory said.

Emory says the Krewe de Quit program aims to bring down Louisiana’s numbers to the national average. Krewe de Quit is paid for by Pfizer in collaboration with the Louisiana Smoking Cessation Trust, the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living and Ochsner Health System, among other health advocates.