November 21, 2013 is Great American Smokeout. This is a perfect opportunity to commit to quit for one day, then use that commitment to try and quit for good. Menisa Marshall, American Lung Association in Kentucky and Dr. Divya Cantor, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kentucky share some of the strongest reasons to try to kick the habit.
Since the Surgeon General's first Report on Smoking and Health was issued in 1964, smoking prevalence among U.S. adults has been reduced by half. This is thanks largely to a comprehensive approach that has included research-based education and prevention programs, new pharmacological treatments, and advocacy to increase cigarette costs and promote smoke-free public places.
Despite this encouraging trend, more can and must be done. Nationwide, almost 44 million Americans-nearly 1 in every 5 adults-still smoke cigarettes. About 971,000 people in Kentucky-22 percent of our population-smoke according to 2011 data.
According to the 2013 Louisville Metro Health Status Report, local smoking rates dropped slightly from 25.5 percent in 2004 to 23.9 percent. Yet, smoking is directly linked to Louisville's top four causes of death: cancer, heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke.
It's easy sometimes to forget or maybe just not think about the incredible toll that smoking and tobacco use takes on our nation. This demonstration helps people put the number of deaths we see each day from smoking compared to several other major causes of death, such as the use of alcohol or drugs, or even murder and suicide.
The reality is that smoking and tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in America today. More people die nationwide from tobacco use than from accidents, alcohol, drugs, homicide, suicide and AIDS all combined.
On an average day in the U. S. there are AIDS/HIV 42 Drug-Related deaths per day; 110 Homicides & Suicides (combined) 148 deaths per day; Alcohol Use 220 deaths per day: Accidents 336 deaths per day;; Smoking & Tobacco Use 1,205 deaths per day according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - 2011 National Vital Statistics Report, Oct. 2012, Vol. 61); CDC 2011 Report on Smoking and Tobacco Use.
Tobacco use is directly linked to lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as heart disease and stroke. It is also a risk factor for many other diseases including various cancers. The good news is quitting smoking is one of the best steps you can take for your health and well-being. You start seeing benefits right away that continue to build in the weeks and months ahead. As long as no disease state has already by the time you quit, your risks from tobacco-related disease can actually improve to those of a nonsmoker.
It's hard to quit smoking so the American Lung Association and Blue Cross Blue Shield are teaming up to do everything possible to make it easier.
We know it's very common for it to take many attempts at quitting smoking before you're finally able to quit for good. Past attempts to quit smoking are not failures, but normal and necessary steps along the way to quitting for good.
Tools, tips and support: One tip is to put together a quit kit for yourself, like hard candies, mock cigarettes (cut straws) to keep hands occupied, motivation cards (put in areas at come, work car to remind you why you decided you want to quit), stickers ..put on your calendar as a good visual reminder every day you stay quit)
You can find lots of great tips and support materials at www.quitterinyou.org . To talk with a trained stop smoking counselor, you can call the Lung Helpline at 1-800-LUNG-USA.
The important thing is to keep trying to quit, until you quit for good.
American Lung Association
Our mission is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.kylung.org .
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky is available at www.anthem.com . Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthjoinin , on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinIn , or visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/healthjoinin .