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Kids give dads praise for quitting smoking

Just a few days before this year’s Great American Smokeout, some children shared their feelings on their fathers’ recent accomplishment of quitting smoking.
During the event at North Shore-LIJ’s Center for Tobacco Control, the children read letters that they had written to their fathers.
“Now you will be able to live longer to play with me and help me with my homework,” wrote 7-year-old Alexa of Fresh Meadows. “I love you daddy very much. Thank you for not smoking.”
Alexa’s father, Robert Bacich, is a New York City police officer. He said his daughter was very affected when she saw the commercial encouraging people to quit smoking that features a man who has a hole in his throat.
“I decided to quit about seven years ago, but actually followed through with it two months ago, pretty much because of my daughter constantly nagging me,” Bacich said. “Every time I went to light up a cigarette, it was more trouble for me to smoke than it was to quit.”
Bacich joined a program at the Center for Tobacco Control and said that although they didn’t make him quit, they made it easier for him to do so. He said that one of the most important things that he learned there was it was all psychological and he doesn’t have to smoke.
Wantagh resident Barry Sullivan, who quit smoking about a year and a half ago, was there with his two daughters, 8-year-old Gracie and 9-year-old Emily. Emily wrote about hearing the door slide open and shut as her father went outside to smoke and the worry she felt. In a poem Gracie wrote, she said, “I know quitting was hard, it must have been tough/But you had the power, you had the right stuff.”
The Jacobsen family from Amityville also took part in the event. Tim, 16, wrote about the limitations that smoking placed on his father, Dan, when it came to physical activity. Eight-year-old Meghan said she was glad her father was now healthy and that she didn’t have to worry any more.
“I love that you quit so much that I cry when I think about you smoking and the day you stopped,” write Jacobsen’s 13-year-old daughter, Hayley. “Thank you, daddy, for becoming healthy. Thank you, daddy, for saving yours, mine and the families’ lives. Thank you, daddy, for stopping smoking and making me not so scared any more.”
Virginia Reichert, the Director of the Center for Tobacco Control, said that the American Cancer Society has been holding the Great American Smokeout for the last 30 years. The event, which is held on the third Thursday of November, encourages smokers to quit for the day.
Among the services that the Center for Tobacco Control provides are free tobacco cessation classes, individual counseling and free ongoing support.
North Shore-LIJ’s Center for Tobacco Control is located at 225 Community Drive in Great Neck. For more information, call 516-466-1980 or visit www.northshorelij.com/stopsmoking.

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