Great American Smokeout Spotlights Pressing Need to Help those with Low Income, Less than High School Education or Poor Mental Health
SYRACUSE, NY – The American Cancer Society, Great American Smokeout annually reminds us that quitting smoking is essential for good health, but the most at-risk populations in New York haven’t been able to quit on this day or any other. Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death killing nearly 24,000 New Yorkers every year[i] and afflicting nearly 600,000 New Yorkers with serious disease directly attributable to their smoking.[ii] Tobacco is not an equal opportunity killer – there has been no reduction in smoking rates among low income adults, adults with poor mental health, and those with less than a high school education.[iii]
“We are definitely concerned about tobacco use rates in all of our communities, especially areas that are higher than the state average, “ said Martha Ryan, Sr Director, Community Engagement at the American Cancer Society. “One-third of cancer deaths could be prevented if people avoided tobacco. The Great American Smokeout is a perfect opportunity to remind tobacco users of the resources available to help them quit. 12 hours after quitting the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. By quitting – even for one day – smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life.”
Quitting smoking is the single most important step you can take to reduce your risk of cancer and improve your health.[iv] The American Cancer Society, sponsor of the annual Great American Smokeout, estimates that 30 percent of cancers could be avoided if people stopped using tobacco.[v] Tragically, research shows that the poor are more likely to smoke, less likely to be successful in quitting and more likely to lose their lives to lung cancer.[vi]
Due to the clear evidence of the disparities that exist in tobacco use, tobacco control efforts are focused on systems change that will ensure every tobacco user who seeks medical care is offered tobacco dependence treatment and is offered the resources and support needed to quit. One of the primary goals is to increase the percentage of adult smokers who are assisted in quitting smoking by a health care provider with the ultimate goal of reducing the adult smoking rate in New York.
“Efforts to help smokers quit and keep kids from starting to smoke will continue to have a major impact on the health of New York State now and in the future,” said Christopher Owens, Director of the CNY Regional Center for Tobacco Health Systems at St. Joseph’s Hospital. “We hope smokers take advantage of all the resources available today for the Great American Smokeout and give quitting a chance today or in the near future.”
For help quitting, call your doctor and for support call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS or visit www.nysmokefree.com.
The Central New York Regional Center for Tobacco Health Systems at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center is one of eight Tobacco Health System grants funded by the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Tobacco Control. The Center covers the Counties of Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, St. Lawrence, Tioga and Tompkins. The Center is committed to working with health care organizations and clinicians to implement systems to screen patients for tobacco use and assist clinicians in treating patients who struggle with tobacco addiction
[i] Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, 2014, Section C: Recommended Funding Levels, by State New York, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/stateandcommunity/best_practices/index.htm?s_cid=cs_3281
[ii] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General., 2010, http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/2010/index.htm?s_cid=cs_1843
[iii] 2012 Independent Evaluation Report of the New York Tobacco Control Program, RTI International, 2012, http://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/tobacco_control/docs/2012-12_independent_evaluation_report.pdf
[iv] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General., 2010, http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/2010/index.htm?s_cid=cs_1843
[v]Tobacco Related Cancer Fact Sheet, American Cancer Society, http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/tobaccocancer/tobacco-related-cancer-fact-sheet
[vi] Tobacco as a Social Justice Issue, Cheryl G. Healton, Legacy, http://www.legacyforhealth.org/content/download/2830/43307/file/LEG-Social%20Justice%20Brochure-WEB_052313.pdf