ALBANY — Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year, says Ebonee Kirkwood, a Southwest Georgia Health District specialist in epidemiology and health promotions.
“The only proven strategy to protect yourself and the others around you from harm caused by smoking is to never smoke,” she said, “and if you do smoke or use tobacco products, to quit.”
Because of the impact tobacco use has on health, in 2012 the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the first-ever paid national tobacco education campaign, Tips From Former Smokers. The Tips campaign, which is now running in Southwest Health District, features compelling stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities and the toll smoking-related illnesses have taken on them.
“The campaign also features nonsmokers who have experienced life-threatening episodes as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke,” Kirkwood said.
Tips ads focus on health issues caused by smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke including:
- Cancer (lung, throat, head and neck, colorectal)
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Preterm birth
- Vision loss
- Buerger’s disease
- Gum disease
- Smoking and HIV
- Dual use (use of both cigarettes and at least one other type of tobacco product)
Kirkwood emphasized that it is important to recognize that smoking causes immediate damage to the smoker’s body.
“Further, the damage can lead to long-term effects,” she said. “A second point is that for every smoking-related death, at least 30 Americans live with a smoking-related illness,” Kirkwood said. “Finally, now is the time to quit smoking. If you want help, free assistance is available.”
For assistance, contact 1-800-QUIT-NOW or http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quitsmoking/index.html
“The deaths, disabilities, lost productivity and suffering caused by tobacco use is preventable,” Kirkwood said. “A Quit Guide is available with information about coping with cravings, learning about medications that can help, telling you what to do if you slip, and more. Make this the day you free yourself from tobacco.”
Please see also:
The Truth About Kids and Smoking (American Cancer Society)