Skip Navigation LinksHome News Ask Fairfax! Archived Discussion Room
Quitting Tobacco - Plan for Success Archived Discussion Room

Fairfax County, Virginia

Quitting Tobacco - Plan for Success

Quitting tobacco is hard but you can do it and there are resources in Northern Virginia that can help. With the Great American Smokeout just around the corner, join our tobacco cessation experts for an online chat on Nov. 8 at 11 a.m. to find out how you can create a quit plan that will increase your chances for success. Send in your questions now or visit online on Nov. 8 to participate.

Amanda Pusey : Hello,

Amanda Pusey from the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board and Sara Pappa the Regional Tobacco Control Coordinator from the Fairfax County Health Department. Please submit your questions. We look forward to chatting with you!

Betty : The CSB focuses on substance abuse prevention and treatment. What resources do they have that can help? How about the Health Department? Neighborhood and Community Services?

Amanda Pusey : The CSB has many different evidence based programs we offer around substance abuse prevention and treatment. We are currently working on a CSB state-wide project called Counter Act, where we collect data and educate tobacco retailers about the laws around selling tobacco to minors.

We offer Lifeskills, a 6 week curriculum that educates students elementary through high school-aged students. A free course that we can offer in schools or to community groups

We also offer a tobacco cessation program called Dimensions. This is a 6 week course that meets once per week and we talk about healthy lifestyle choices including quitting tobacco. Bonus- If you are interested in becoming a facilitator, we are going to offer a free, 1 day training to those who would be interested in running groups in Fairfax County.

If you are interested in any of these programs, please contact Amanda Pusey at

Danny : Not a question, I just wanted to say I chewed tobacco since I was 11. I am now 52 and I quit on July 4th of this year. think positive get someone to help you move pass the habit.

Sara Pappa : Congratulations to you! Quitting tobacco use is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health. It is not easy, but you are right in that thinking positively and getting support from friends and family helps.

Nova Quits : Are there Spanish-language and other non-English resources available to help Fairfax County residents quit?

Sara Pappa : Yes! The Virginia Quitline has materials in Spanish and quit coaches that speak Spanish as well as many other languages. The Quitline is available to all Virginia residents 13 years of age and older and is a free service. Quit coaches can be reached 24/7. Call today...1-800-Quit-Now.

Nova Quits : Can you please talk about the importance of quitting smoking and available resources for communities disproportionately impacted by smoking - e.g., African-Americans, LQBTQ, those living with mental health conditions, etc.?

Amanda Pusey : Quitting smoking is very important. As the Youth Risk Behavior Survey found, even the students in Fairfax County understand that smoking is wrong. When asked, 76.5% of students answered that smoking tobacco puts your health at a "great risk".

Resources we discuss during this chat are available for anyone living in Fairfax County. We have smoking cessation classes available at the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, a program called Dimensions. The Virginia Quitline is also available as a resource for tobacco users.

Amanda Pusey : The Great American Smokeout is happening next week on Thursday November 16th! There are many different events going on around the county and the nation for this special day. One event in particular is that George Mason University is hosting a cigarette butt cleanup on their campus from 12-2pm on 11/16 in front of Student Union Building 1. There will be free giveaways as well as resources related to quitting tobacco.

Nova Quits : What resources are available to help people who have tried to quit in the past?

Amanda Pusey : The Virginia Quitline is a great resource. 1-800-784-8669 You can call to get advice, have someone to talk to, or help creating a quitting plan. They are a great place to go even if you aren't a smoker, and you're just trying to help one quit.

The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board also is a great resource. They have smoking cessation classes with a program called Dimensions. If you are a CSB client or receive their services, you can enroll in the BeWell Program and win gift cards for attending classes like Dimensions!

Amanda Pusey : Tobacco Trivia
True/False:Smoking is more Common among people with mental health problems.

True! 70-90% of people who suffer from schizophrenia are 70-90% are smokers. How can they find help? Refer them to the CSB or the VA quitline!

Nova Quits : What is the public health impact of smoking on Fairfax County?

Sara Pappa : Here in Fairfax County, as well as other jurisdictions in Northern VA, we have lower smoking rates than the rest of the state. Our rates for adults range from 11-15% while the state is 17-18% (depending on the data source). However, we have health disparities in our region and know that minorities and people of lower socioeconomic status use tobacco at higher rates.

4,100 youth (under 18) become daily smokers every year in Virginia. Annual healthcare expenditures directly related to tobacco use in VA are over $3 billion. Our federal and state tax burden to cover smoking-related costs is $717.00 per household. Sadly, 10,300 Virginians die each year from their own smoking and 1,160 non-smokers die from exposure to second-hand smoke. Tobacco use is the number one PREVENTABLE cause of death in the US.

This is why we are here today, promoting the Great American Smokeout and the Virginia Quitline. Online information can be found at and

Amanda Pusey : Tobacco Trivia
What percentage of smokers say they started smoking in their late teens?


This is why prevention and projects such as Counter Act are so important! We educate those who sell tobacco so they are aware of the health affects for minors.

Anonymous User : Are Fairfax County Government buildings and campuses tobacco free?

Sara Pappa : Yes, there is a PM (25-27) that covers smoking policy in Fairfax County. Government buildings and vehicles are covered as being smoke free (not tobacco free). Also, smoking is prohibited within 50 ft. of all public and accessible entrances to county facilities.

Dwight : What are the initial studies saying about vaping compared to smoking? (in terms of health and addiction)

Amanda Pusey : Great question! I think vaping is a hot topic in the community. "Vaping" is such a vague term and could mean that the user is vaping essential oils, they could be using a liquid containing nicotine or vaping other things.
I assume that this question is asking about smoking tobacco vs vaping nicotine. There are many initial studies, but notice the word INITIAL. This means that there are no long term studies on the use of vaping products. Because we know nicotine is the addictive substance in smoking cigarettes, switching to vaping nicotine will still provide that addiction. You will still see the withdrawal affects as well as the dopamine rush while using.
While some initial studies have shown some harm reduction and assistance with cessation from e-cigs and vaping, there is not enough research yet for us to be able to say this definitively. Current statistics show that some smokers are switching to vaping to use nicotine in smoke-free places. However, the people vaping are still exposing themselves to the harmful effects of nicotine.

Amanda Pusey : Thanks for all your questions! If you have any additional questions, please feel free to interact with us through the CSB twitter @fairfaxCSB and the CSB facebook page. Or feel free to email me at for CSB questions or for health department related questions