No butts next week
“I think it inspires people who are on the ragged edge of quitting, and it gives them an opportunity to jumpstart the process,” said Laura Roberts, project director for the Lassen County Public Health Tobacco Use Reduction Program.
According to the ACS studies, 44 percent of the 45.3 million Americans who smoke have attempted to quit for at least one day in the past year, and the overall goal of the smokeout is to encourage people to commit to making a long-term plan to quit for good.
Roberts said free resources to help smokers quit are available locally at the tobacco use reduction office, located at 1345B Paul Bunyan Rd., including health information and free counseling through a confidential helpline.
The quit line, 1-800-NO-BUTTS, is provided as a resource to aid in what can be a very difficult process for many smokers.
The tobacco use reduction program also offers other resources that can increase a smoker’s chances of quitting successfully, including tips and tools for friends, family, and coworkers of potential quitters to help them be aware and supportive of the struggle to quit smoking.
Roberts said studies show the importance of social support in quitting smoking, as people are most likely to quit smoking when their friends, family, and coworkers decide to quit smoking as well.
“Also, people who go cold turkey usually have better success with quitting,” said Roberts.
Roberts said the tobacco use reduction program is highlighting the dangers of pregnancy and smoking with this year’s national smokeout.
“All women given pregnancy services at Northeastern Rural Health are also screened for smoking and alcohol use, and it is alarming to find out how many women do not quit after learning they are pregnant,” said Roberts.
According to Roberts, only 5 percent of pregnant smokers screened actually quit after finding out they were pregnant.
Health risks associated with smoking and pregnancy include heart problems and breathing difficulty for the mother, and low birth weight, early birth, heart problems, and crib death for the child.
Roberts said the tobacco use reduction program last year hosted an ACS training session that trained several local medical professionals to be certified cessation facilitators.
ACS certified facilitators are now staffed at Northeastern Rural Health Clinic, Susanville Indian Health, Banner Lassen Medical Center, and Lassen County Alcohol and Drug.
“There is a great deal of local resources available for those who would like to get help with quitting,” said Roberts.
ACS also provides a national quit line, 1-800-277-2345. ACS studies have found that the quit line can more than double a person’s chances of successfully quitting tobacco, and has provided counseling support to more than 380,000 smokers.
The ACS has made the smokeout effort mainstream, using popular online social networks such as Facebook and MySpace as support channels for people who want to quit. Smokeout-related downloadable desktop applications on these networks are available to help people quit or to join the fight against tobacco.
According to the ACS, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. Each year, smoking accounts for an estimated 438,000 premature deaths, including 38,000 deaths among nonsmokers as a result of secondhand smoke. Half of all Americans who continue to smoke will die from smoking-related diseases.
In recent years, smoke-free laws and higher tobacco taxes, which not only make it harder for people to smoke but also protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke, have given those who wish to quit more incentive to do so.
Smoke-free laws now cover the majority of U.S. communities, while forty-three states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have raised tobacco taxes since 2000.
Smokers nationwide now face an average cost of $4.32 for one pack of cigarettes, not including all taxes.
The rising cost of living is also affecting smokers, as the cost of cigarettes presents an even greater burden.
The ACS’s nonprofit advocacy affiliate, the Cancer Awareness Network, supports many smoke-free workplace laws and other tobacco control legislation aimed at helping protect Americans from secondhand smoke and encouraging smokers to quit.
More information is available by calling the Lassen County Tobacco Use and Succession Program at 257-9600 or by visiting the office at 1345B Paul Bunyan Road.
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