2005_05_nicopatch.jpgThe NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will give the first 45,000 callers to 311 free nicotine patches, as part of a campaign to help New Yorkers stop smoking. The Daily News says the Pfizer-donated kit includes "a six-week course of nicotine patches, instructions, educational information and online support." Health Commissioner Thomas Friedan says the 2003 free-nicotine-patch program helped 11,000 New Yorkers quit smoking, but Gothamist isn't sure if there's follow-up after that; he hopes this year's program will help at least 5,000 to quit. Of course, many know that our Mayor has aggressively put smokers in the corner with the smoking ban at bars and restaurants. If anyone does call and get the kit, let us know!

Gothamist wonders if a handy 12-step handbook will be given away next. And the Health Department is 200 years old, while the Mental Hygiene part is just 50 years.