MIND AND BODY: May 31 is World No Tobacco Day, a time to try quitting

By Angela Bereznak, Clark County Health Department


Each year, the World Health Organization holds World No Tobacco Day on May 31.

The goal of this event is to spread awareness about the risks of tobacco use in hopes to encourage individuals to be tobacco free.

Roughly 6 million people die from tobacco-related ailments every year, and that number is projected to rise to more than 8 million by 2030.

Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking.

On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.

Secondhand smoke is also called environmental tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke is when the smoke that comes from the cigarette enters the body of a non-smoker.

Secondhand smoke is known to cause cancer. It has more than 7,000 chemicals, including at least 70 that can cause cancer. It’s possibly linked in children to lymphoma, leukemia, liver cancer and brain tumors.

Thirdhand smoke is residual nicotine and other chemicals left on indoor surfaces by tobacco smoke.

When cigarette smoke is in the air, it does not simply disappear, it attaches to everything around it, such as clothing, furniture, interior of the car, walls, carpet, etc. People and animals breathe in the fumes and can experience health issues.

The health effects of thirdhand smoke are still being researched.

E-cigarettes pose potential risks to the population as a whole. E-cigarettes could cause public health harm if they:

— Increase the number of youth and young adults who are exposed to nicotine.

— Lead non-smokers to start smoking conventional cigarettes and other burned tobacco products such as cigars and hookah.

— Sustain nicotine addiction so smokers continue using the most dangerous tobacco products — those that are burned — as well as e-cigarettes, instead of quitting completely.

— Increase the likelihood that former smokers will again become addicted to nicotine by using e-cigarettes, and will start using burned tobacco products again.

Supports for reducing tobacco usage

— Freedom from Smoking. The course is eight weeks with weekly meetings. Participants will gain information about the benefits of stopping tobacco products, gain support and encouragement from classmates, learn stress management techniques and learn about medications that can support them in quitting. Freedom from Smoking is currently being taught using Zoom video conferencing. The course costs $5. The next course will begin in July; the date and time is to be determined. Individuals ages 18 and older are eligible.

— The Kentucky Quit Now Helpline is available at no cost. Individuals of all ages are eligible. This service connects you to smoking cessation counselors. You can connect via telephone, text and online. The contact number is 1-800-784-8669.

— My Life, My Quit is a free and confidential service for teens 17 and younger who want help quitting all forms of tobacco including vaping. To register text START MY QUIT to 855-891-9989, call 855-891-9989 or visit MyLifeMyQuit.com. Available at no cost.

— This Is Quiting is for individuals 13 to 24 who want to stop using all forms of tobacco products, including Vaping. To register text Kentucky to 88709 or go toTruthInitiative.org. Available at no cost.

Clark County Health Department provides programs for the entire family, including WIC, HANDS, family planning, well-child care/immunizations, smoking cessation and home health care.  For more information on services, call 744-4482, visit  www.clarkhealthdept.org or www.facebook.com/pages/Clark-County-Health-Department.