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    Ralphs Helps Locals Quit Smoking With Free Nicotine Patches, Gum

    The Kroger Co.’s Los Angeles-based Ralphs Grocery Co. subsidiary is teaming up with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and L.A. Care Health Plan to spearhead the largest in-person giveaway of nicotine patches and gum ever in California. The 30,000 quit-smoking aids are currently being given away to L.A. county residents at 47 participating Ralphs Pharmacies while supplies last.

    The Kroger Co.’s Los Angeles-based Ralphs Grocery Co. subsidiary is teaming up with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and L.A. Care Health Plan to spearhead the largest in-person giveaway of nicotine patches and gum ever in California. The 30,000 quit-smoking aids are currently being given away to L.A. county residents at 47 participating Ralphs Pharmacies while supplies last.

    “We hope [this resource] this will help [consumers quit smoking, and benefit their health,” said Kendra Doyel, Ralphs group VP/ public relations.

    L.A. County residents 18 years of age or older are eligible for this giveaway and must have a valid form of identification. Participants will be screened for eligibility to ensure that the nicotine replacement therapy won’t conflict with any pre-existing conditions. A follow-up survey is required as well.

    “We are confident that this giveaway will serve as the first step in a successful quit effort for smokers in Los Angeles County,” said Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “Nicotine patches and gum are helpful tools that will assist smokers in quitting this deadly addiction. And, with no cost, there is no better opportunity and no better time than now to quit.”

    The 30,000 two-week starter kits of free nicotine patches and gum are part of L.A. County’s ongoing campaign to reduce smoking rates. With funding from the county’s allotment of the Tobacco Master Settlement and L.A. Care Health Plan, this campaign attempts to build awareness of existing resources and develop social networks to support smokers in quitting for good.

    Nicotine patches and gum are a substitute to cigarettes to help smokers trying to quit by providing a steady stream of nicotine to the body that is decreased over time. This may help reduce the physical withdrawal symptoms that occur during the first weeks of quitting smoking.

    In an effort to make the public aware of this campaign, L.A. County has created a Facebook page (keyword: LA Quits), which will include updates on this giveaway and other information on L.A. County’s smoking cessation efforts. A Twitter page (@LAQuits) will also feature cessation tips.

    Kroger’s Ralphs division operates more than 260 supermarkets and 90 pharmacies in California.

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