• Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, yet 43.4 million Americans still smoke.
• Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death for both men and women.
• 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 87 percent of lung cancer deaths can be attributed to smoking.
• In Kansas in 2010, an estimated 1,990 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer, and 1,590 people will die from the disease.
• In the US, tobacco use is responsible for nearly one in five deaths.
• On average, smoking reduces life expectancy by approximately 14 years.
• 17.1 percent of high school students in Kansas are current cigarette smokers.
• Secondhand smoke is estimated to cause approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths nationwide in nonsmokers each year. Of that total, 380 lives will be lost in Kansas due to secondhand smoke.
Information from the American Cancer Society.
Thursday marks the 35th anniversary of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, and the ACS, Barton County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment are encouraging residents to celebrate by quitting.
To provide assistance to tobacco users who are ready to quit, the department offers the 24-hour, toll-free Kansas Tobacco Quitline operated by Free and Clear, the healthy behaviors company.
Locally, Barton County Health Department Health Educator Janel Rose said she has free quit-smoking kits available Thursday through next week. These include gum and information. "We want to do anything we can to get people to quit smoking for one day and stretch that into a lifetime of being tobacco free," Rose said.
These efforts are working. In 1977, the year of the first Smokeout, about 34 percent of Americans smoked. In 2009, it was 21 percent. "That’s a significant change," Rose said.
"The Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act has provided a more supportive environment for Kansas smokers to quit," said John W. Mitchell, acting secretary of KDHE. "Studies show that more than half of Kansas smokers want to quit. Now that most public places are smoke-free it is easier for Kansans who are trying to quit to avoid the trigger of others smoking around them."
The health care reform law will also make coverage of smoking cessation programs more common.
According to an American Cancer Society report, smokers who quit can expect to live as many as 10 years longer than those who continue to smoke. To encourage Kansans to become or remain smoke-free the ACS has set up a Kansas 2010 Facebook Challenge. The goal is to obtain 2,010 pledges in year 2010. Visit the fan page at www.facebook.com/2010KansasGASO and select the "like" button to pledge.
Kansans can call the Kansas Tobacco Quitline 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669). The Quitline is a service provided at no cost to callers and enrollment is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A counselor works with the caller during one-on-one phone calls to prepare for a quit date and create a plan to fight cravings and face other challenges. Follow-up calls are arranged around participants’ schedules.
Smokers will also be eligible for a two-week supply of free cessation products. This is a limited-time offer.
The Quitline recently added Web Coach as an online component. Web Coach is designed to complement and enhance the phone-based counseling sessions with interactive features, evidence-based content and social forums. Studies have found that using a tobacco Quitline can more than double a person’s chances of successfully quitting tobacco.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Tobacco Use Prevention Program provides resources and assistance to community coalitions to develop, enhance and evaluate state and local tobacco prevention and cessation initiatives. For additional information about the Kansas Tobacco Use Prevention Program visit www.kdheks.gov/tobacco. More information about the Great American Smokeout can be found at www.greatamericansmokeout.org.
One can also contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.