Posts Tagged smoke

Call It Quits Nov. 15! Join the Great American Smokeout!

Call It Quits Nov. 15! Join the Great American Smokeout!

Smokers who want to quit tobacco can use their fingers to dial for free help instead of lighting up a cigarette. On Thursday, Nov. 15, the Great American Smokeout challenges smokers and vapers to take the first step by quitting for the day or making a plan to quit for good.

Callers in Alabama can dial 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) to reach the AlabamaDepartment of Public Health’s Tobacco Quitline. Enrollment in the free program can provide the caller an individualized quit plan, counseling from certified tobacco treatment specialists, and up to eight weeks of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patches if the caller is medically eligible and enrolled in the program.

In Alabama, 20.9 percent of adults are smokers compared to the national rate of 17.1 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the nation and kills more than 8,600 adults in Alabama each year. Annually, the state spends more than $1.88 billion in health care costs directly caused by smoking.

“Tobacco use doesn’t just harm the smoker,” said Julie Hare, ADPH Tobacco Prevention and Control Program’s cessation manager. “Secondhand smoke can cause adverse health effects for anyone exposed.” CDC’s Tips from Former Smokers national advertising campaign which shows the cost for patients living with a tobacco-caused disease and the effect on their families has inspired thousands of Alabamians to call the Quitline for help, she said.

Tobacco users and vapers can also register for services online at quitnowalabama.com. The Quitline is open from 6 a.m. to midnight seven days a week.

Medicaid callers are offered Quitline counseling but are referred to Medicaid’s program to obtain their medications. “Medicaid pays for a full course of any of the seven Food and Drug Administration-approved medications to help quit tobacco,” Hare said. “Smokers who want to quit should ask their private insurance carrier about medication coverage,” she said. “Under the Affordable Care Act, tobacco cessation is required to be covered as a preventive service.”

Hare said other ways to reduce smoking include the adoption of comprehensive smoke-free policies in cities. Some 32 Alabama cities have adopted smoke-free ordinances that prohibit tobacco use in workplaces, including restaurants and bars. At least half of those ordinances include e-cigarettes, she said.

The American Cancer Society has sponsored the Great American Smokeout since 1975.

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Estimated 1.9 Million Vapers in U.S. and Growing

Estimated 1.9 Million Vapers in U.S. and Growing

A research team including experts from Johns Hopkins conducted a survey to determine trends in e-cigarette use. Based on more than 400,000 responses from the national telephone survey led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the researchers estimate that 1.4 percent of the population in the U.S. vapes. Yet these roughly 1.9 million people do not report smoking cigarettes regularly.

E-cigarettes contain the addictive chemical nicotine, and as they are unregulated can contain other harmful chemicals. Although adults report using e-cigarettes to wean themselves off of traditional cigarettes, younger generations are taking up vaping without prior experience smoking.

Their findings in a brief research report, published on Oct. 9 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest that regulating sales and education for vulnerable young people may be needed to prevent more people from getting hooked on nicotine. The researchers found that 60 percent of vapers were younger than 25 years old. Michigan had the highest prevalence of vapers in the population, whereas Alaska had the fewest. People who only smoked e-cigarettes also engaged in more risky behavior, such as binge drinking, risky sex and drug use.

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Physician Groups Issue Joint Statement in Support of Raising Alabama’s Legal Tobacco Age to 21

Physician Groups Issue Joint Statement in Support of Raising Alabama’s Legal Tobacco Age to 21

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MONTGOMERY — The Medical Association of the State of Alabama, the Alabama Chapter-American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Cardiology-Alabama Chapter, the Alabama Dermatology Society, and the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians have joined in support of legislation that would raise Alabama’s legal tobacco age from 19 to 21.

“Research has shown our children are at the greatest risk of becoming smokers because they begin to experiment with cigarettes around the age of 18,” said Medical Association President Jerry Harrison, M.D. “Smoking remains one of the most preventable causes of heart disease by making the heart work harder and raising the blood pressure, which can trigger a stroke. So, raising Alabama’s legal tobacco age limit by a couple of years in order to add years to our children’s lives only makes sense.”

A study published last year in the journal Pediatrics showed raising the minimum tobacco purchase age to 21 would likely have significant public health benefits, including 249,000 fewer premature deaths and 45,000 fewer lung cancer deaths for those born between 2010 and 2019. The study also showed that younger adolescents were more likely to support the initiative, and past research has shown that up to 75 percent of adults favor the higher purchase age for tobacco products.

“This legislation is one of the most effective actions Alabama can make to ensure the health and safety of our children,” said Susan Walley, M.D., FAAP, member of the AL-AAP Executive Board and the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Tobacco Control. “Any tobacco use in children and adolescents is not safe. Adolescents are more likely to become addicted to nicotine, even with experimental use, which has a ‘gateway effect’ to other substances of abuse. Once adolescents start using tobacco products, whether from electronic cigarettes or traditional combustible cigarettes or cigars, they risk a lifelong habit that kills one-in-three smokers from a multitude of diseases.”

According to the Alabama Dermatology Society, smoking is bad for the skin in multiple ways – ill effects that can begin in the teenage years. In addition to causing premature skin aging and wrinkles, smoking nearly doubles one’s risk of developing psoriasis. Even more worrisome, studies show smokers boost their risk for developing squamous cell carcinoma of the skin by 52 percent. Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer, and, while often treatable, can have deadly consequences.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) – HB 47 – would raise the age from 19 to 21 for anyone in Alabama looking to purchase, use, or possess tobacco products in Alabama. This proposed legislation includes any tobacco, tobacco product or alternative nicotine product. Our organizations fully support the passage of this legislation for the lives of Alabama’s children.

For more information or comment, please contact:

Lori M. Quiller, APR, Medical Association of the State of Alabama, (334) 954-2580

Linda Lee, APR, Alabama Chapter-American Academy of Pediatrics, (334) 954-2543

Christina Smith, American College of Cardiology-Alabama Chapter, and Alabama Dermatology Society, (205) 972-8510

Jeff Arrington, Alabama Academy of Family Physicians, (334) 954-2570

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