SAN DIEGO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 8, 2007 -- For smokers, the perfect Valentine's Day gift is not necessarily sold at a store. A promise or commitment to stop smoking cannot be bought, but it's a Valentine's gift that will last a lifetime.

"Choosing February 14th as the day to quit smoking will not only help your heart, but the hearts of your loved ones," said Gary Tedeschi, PhD, clinical director, California Smokers' Helpline. "From the first hour you quit smoking, your body immediately experiences positive changes. Your pulse will slow to normal, your blood pressure will decrease and, after 24 hours, your chance of a heart attack will decrease."

Californians can double their chances to quit smoking by calling 1-800-NO-BUTTS, the California Smokers' Helpline, to find out the different ways to stop smoking.

The Helpline provides free, professional and confidential telephone counseling for anyone living in California, whether they are currently addicted to tobacco, have already quit or want information for a friend or relative. It also offers services to help individuals quit chewing tobacco and has experts on teen smoking.

"Most cigarette smokers and tobacco users want to break their addiction and can really benefit from professional help through the process," said Tedeschi. "Telephone counseling offers many advantages to those trying to quit tobacco use including privacy, accessibility and affordability. And, it works."

Studies conducted by the California Smokers' Helpline have shown that smokers who used the telephone counseling service were twice as likely to quit smoking as those who tried to quit on their own.

In addition to telephone counseling, the Helpline offers quitting information, advice and resources on its Web site, The Helpline also recommends, a resource for quitting smoking and eliminating tobacco everywhere in our daily lives.

"While most smokers know the effects of smoking, the benefits of quitting are often overshadowed," said Tedeschi. "Yet, understanding the body's ability to repair some of the damage caused by smoking often motivates smokers trying to quit."

Research shows there are many benefits of quitting smoking, even during day one.

Within 20 minutes:
    Blood pressure decreases, and the pulse slows to its normal rate.
    Temperature in the hands and feet increases to normal.

Within 8 hours:
    Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal, and oxygen level

Within 24 hours:
    Breath, hair and body stop smelling like smoke.  The chance of
    having a future heart attack starts decreasing.

Within 48 hours:
    Damaged nerve endings begin to recover.  As a result, sense of
    taste and smell begin to improve.

Within 72 hours:
    The body is virtually free of nicotine.  The bronchial tubes relax,
    making it easier to breathe.

Within 2 weeks to 3 months:
    The lungs can hold more air. Exercise becomes easier.
    Circulation improves.

Within 1 year:
    Coughing, congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease.
    Cilia are better able to clean lungs and prevent infection.  Overall
    energy increases.

After 1 year:
    The risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half.

After 5 years:
    The risk of having a stroke is reduced to that of a non-smoker.

After 10 years:
    The risk of developing lung cancer is cut in half.  The risk of
    other cancers decreases significantly.

After 15 years:
    The risk of coronary heart disease drops, usually to the level of
    someone who never smoked.
For more information or help quitting tobacco, call 1-800-NO-BUTTS, or visit and

Contact Information: Contact: Kirsten Hansen (858) 300-1012