• Quitting Smoking in Connecticut

  • While CommuniCare is no longer able to offer access to direct tobacco cessation services due to lack of funding, help remains available 24/7 through the CT Quitline.

    People can reach assistance through the CT Quitine by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or by visiting their website here

  • Tobacco Cessation Program History

    Since October 2009, CommuniCare, Inc. has been the driving force behind implementing tobacco cessation services in behavioral health settings in the state of Connecticut. CommuniCare contracted with nine agencies throughout the state to integrate tobacco cessation as a core component of their behavioral health services. The goal of the program is to provide tobacco treatment services to a population that has historically been underserved.

    Recent research demonstrates that individuals with serious mental illness are dying 25 years earlier than the general population, and many of them from smoking-related illnesses. The issue of tobacco addiction among people with serious mental illness is substantial: people with serious mental illnesses consume 44% of all cigarettes in the United States, while comprising less than 7% of the population. It is necessary to engage in an organizational change process and broaden all clinical and counseling approaches to include tobacco cessation.

    CommuniCare partnered with the University of Massachusetts, Addressing Tobacco Through Organizational Change (ATTOC), a leading tobacco research and consultation firm. Together with UMASS, CCI implemented a model that accounts for people with both high as well as low motivation to address their tobacco use, to best meet the needs of the population. The model also assists the agencies in exploring their policies and practices on tobacco use, and subsequently work toward changing the organization’s culture to support a healthier, tobacco-free community.

  • Partnerships and Collaborations

    To date, CommuniCare has worked with the following agencies on developing and sustaining tobacco cessation services as a regular offering amongst their array of services:
    • BHcare
    • Bridges… A Community Support System
    • Community Health Resources
    • Community Mental Health Affiliates
    • Connecticut Mental Health Center (DMHAS)
    • Continuum of Care
    • Crossroads Treatment Center
    • Fellowship Place
    • Greater Bridgeport Community Mental Health Center (DMHAS)
    • Hartford Behavioral Health
    • Intercommunity
    • Laurel House
    • Recovery Network of Programs
    • Rushford
    • Southeastern Mental Health Authority (DMHAS)
    • Southern Connecticut State University
    • The Connection
    • United Services
    • University of New Haven

    CommuniCare has worked with the following groups and agencies to support overall tobacco control including promotion of Tobacco Cessation and Tobacco Prevention here in Connecticut:
    • Community Health Network of Connecticut
    • Hamden Youth Advisory Committee
    MATCH Coalition
    • New Haven City Department of Health
    • New Haven Local Prevention Council
    • North Haven Substance Abuse Action Council
    • Smoking Cessation Supports Initiative

    This project is supported by funding from the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH).

    Learn more on the ATTOC website

  • Testimonials

  • Overcoming nicotine addiction was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I began smoking when I was a naive 16-year-old. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I smoked a pack a day plus used chew occasionally. There were times I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to stop.

    In December of last year I decided I needed to stop for good. I joined Heather and Naa’s “Smoking Cessation” group. Through their dedication I was educated on the harmful, life-threatening effects of being a tobacco smoker. Having lost a grandparent to tobacco use, it really scared me and was a wake-up call. Heather and Naa’s assistance was only the beginning. I took it upon myself to occupy my usual smoke breaks routines with safer, healthier alternatives. I began to text message, read, and chew gum. I also increased my physical activities such as swimming and working out.

    Today, I have nearly three months of being tobacco free and am a proud graduate of the smoking cessation program. – Anonymous

    My name is Suzanne and I’m a 59 year old white female smoker that smoked for about 45 years old. By attending Smoke Enders Group and using Chantix I have I have managed to be smoke free for almost two months now. I also realized that I haven’t had to use my asthma spray and when I walk I notice I don’t huff and puff or in other words wheeze. The money I’m not spending approximately $60.00 a week is nice. Its only given me a short time but I’ve managed to buy some clothes. I hope to continue this path.

    After being a part of the Smoking Cessation Program, I wanted to share my deep appreciation for the support and service this program has offered to me. I have been smoke-free for six months which has been the longest time I have been smoke-free in my 40 years as a smoker. The information that this program has provided me, along with a sense of empathy and support from members and staff, allows me to understand the nature of this addiction. This program has given me various approaches to help me conquer this life-long battle with smoking. Without this program I would not be able to proudly say “I am finally smoke-free!” Thank you for this valuable service. ~ Anonymous

    My name is Dave, I used to spend all my extra money on 2 cartons of cigarettes a week. I knew that smoking was crazy (Hell, I was crazy too). I tried to stop smoking back in August 2010 trying the method of cold turkey however found that very difficult and went back to smoking after two weeks. In October I tried Chantix. It worked but when I stopped using Chantix, the urge came back, I was hooked again.

    In January I called Connecticut Quit Line for assistance, they were helpful. After 30 attempts at trying to quit and having six or seven cigarettes a day for months I got hooked up with the CHR clubhouse. I started the Smoking Cessation Group in February 2011. I have good counseling and the NRT is free which has helped me a lot with remaining tobacco free. I have been smoke free for 34 days in a row using the patches and lozenges. This eight week program has been what I needed I get the proper support and the group is fantastic. My confidence in my self has increased as well as my motivation. I am so happy and proud of myself to have accomplished such a hard addiction. I started smoking at the age of 21 years old and at that time only smoke Marlboro now I have 34 days free from all tobacco products.

    When I was thirteen years old I had my first cigarette; I shared it with my cousin. I remember it made me feel sick to my stomach. After about three drags, we put it out. The dizziness and the feeling in my stomach was a reaction to the poison in the cigarette.

    When I was thirteen, there were no warning labels on cigarettes. Even though in the 1950s the tobacco industry, by testing on dogs, knew they caused cancer.

    It was 1966 and ads for cigarettes were all over. From the Marlboro cowboy to Tareyton, whose slogan included a man with a black eye. A pack of smokes was around 50 cents and there was no age limit. I tried smoking again because I wanted to fit in. I chose Tareyton because of the black eye commercial. I wanted to feel like a tough guy. When all of my friends switched to Marlboro, I did, too.

    Within a year I was smoking a pack every two days. My father, who was also a smoker, finally caught me smoking when I was sixteen and told me that if I was to smoke I’d never be able to stop. I would not be writing this if I had listened to him.

    Tobacco is a drug that kills people. My father died at 57 of kidney cancer. He wanted to die at home so my mother and I took care of him. He went from 180 pounds to 110 pounds. I used to take him to chemotherapy and watched him get sicker and sicker. He was a New York City cop who never got to collect his pension or social security. And I continued to smoke two packs a day.

    Now, if you’re smoking, you’re paying about $8.00 a pack. That’s enough money for a good lunch. I would not have stopped smoking if it wasn’t for the program at Harbor Health. I never tried to quit even though I had pneumonia every winter for five years straight.

    Last year I had one trouble so bad that I could not walk to my mailbox without being out of breath. The two fingers on my right hand were so brown, when I did go out, I had to put band-aids around them because of the embarrassment. I had to be close to a bathroom at all times because I had almost completely lost control of my bladder. If I had smoked this winter, I would have been dead. I was saved by nicotine replacement therapy and I owe that to this simple program that will help you stop. I can walk my dog in the woods again and breathe like I was 16.

    If this program calls on me for help I’ll be there. That is the least I can do. I spent $45,000 on smoking. Now I have a little extra money each week. I can see it in my bank account and my dog and I split a pizza every week. It’s the reward I give myself. My relatives couldn’t be happier. They have been after me to stop for years.

    Sadly, my mother died at the age of 78 in my arms. She was still smoking and her heart gave out.

    Finally, when I smoked, if I didn’t have cigarettes, I searched my ashtrays, picking out the biggest butts and relighting them until I could get to the store. That is where smoking lead me and I hope you are all a lot smarter than me. I dedicate this story of smoking to both my dad and my mother.

    There’s more I can put in here, likes the holes in my clothing from dropped cigarettes. The near accidents by losing a lit cigarette in the car. Picking up the wrong beer at a party and finding out too late someone had used it as an ashtray. But this is more about health. For the first time in 40 years, I can taste my food, I can smell the new-cut grass.

    Smoking is like trying to fly with one foot chained to the ground. Wherever we go, we had to have our cigarettes with us. This program cut the chain, but you have to want it as well. – John

  • Contact Information

  • CommuniCare Offices
    85 Willow Street, Building A, Suite 3
    New Haven, CT 06511
    p. (203) 553-7234
    f. (203) 553-7239

    John O’Rourke
    p. (203) 553-7234 ext. 2016

    Bettor Choice Outpatient Problem Gambling Treatment
    Debra Cannon, Program Manager
    p. (203) 553-7234 ext. 2017

    SAFE Family Recovery Program
    Simone Ketchum, Program Supervisor
    p. (203) 553-7234 ext. 2011

    Community Support for Families
    Glorimar Teixeira, Program Supervisor
    p. (203) 553-7234 ext. 2012

    Latino Behavioral Health Services
    Sarah Finke, Latino Coordinator
    p. (203) 483-2630 x1236

    South Central Crisis Services
    Jennifer Hagelston, Crisis Coordinator
    p. (860) 388-7855

    All referrals to programs should go through individual agencies, websites are listed below.

  • Visit Our Partner Agencies

  • Hours

  • Monday and Friday
    8:30 am to 5:00 pm

    Tuesday through Thursday
    8:30 am to 8:00 pm

    Crisis Services available after hours.