Tennessee Quit Week is Feb. 5 – 9, 2018
“The impacts of tobacco and nicotine addiction in Tennessee go beyond the damage done to the health, quality of life and incomes of people using these products, most of whom got addicted as youth,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “We lose 30 precious people a day in Tennessee to tobacco use and beyond these tragic early deaths, it costs our state billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and health care costs, serious and preventable consequences that hurt the prosperity of our state and those who live and work here. We want to increase our partnerships across the public and private sectors to educate people on the harms of tobacco use and how we can work together to help people improve their health and their lives by beating nicotine addiction.”
Tennessee Quit Week raises awareness of the Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine and other free resources available to help Tennesseans quit smoking and/or using other tobacco products. These proven, effective services can double a tobacco user’s chances of quitting.
According to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data the current rate of tobacco use among adults in Tennessee is 22.1 percent, noticeably higher than the U.S. rate of 15.1 percent, ranking Tennessee 43rd highest in prevalence of smoking adults. While the adult smoking rate has become stagnant in recent years, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey finds the percentage of youth who report current use of any tobacco product has decreased to 16.7 percent, down from 21.7 percent just two years ago.
“Tennessee’s youth are getting the message that tobacco use of any kind is bad for their health, and that’s great news!” said Michelle Fiscus, MD, FAAP, deputy medical director for Chronic Disease Prevention, Injury Prevention and Health Promotion in the TDH Family Health and Wellness Division. “Surveillance finds 9.4 percent of high school students report currently using cigarettes, less than half the rate of use in 2011. Tennessee’s youth-led tobacco control movement, TNSTRONG is leading the charge to achieve Tennessee’s first tobacco-free generation.”
While progress is being made in Tennessee, the United States Surgeon General has stated smoking continues to remain the single most preventable cause of premature death in our society with cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke accounting for 480,000 deaths each year in the U.S., including the deaths of 11,400 Tennesseans. If current tobacco use rates continue, 5.6 million people under the age 18 alive today will ultimately die from smoking, with 125,000 of those deaths occurring among Tennesseans.
In addition to the negative impact on the health and lives of Tennesseans, productivity losses caused by smoking each year equal $151 billion in the U.S. and $3.6 billion in Tennessee with $2.67 billion dollars estimated as the smoking-attributable health care costs to Tennesseans in one year alone.
Quitting smoking greatly reduces the risk of developing smoking-related diseases. Tennesseans who smoke and are ready to quit can call the Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine, use a web-based program or attend in-person counseling services, and may receive free FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapy. These services are provided at no charge to participants. Call the Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) to talk with a counselor who will help you create a quit plan. For more information and resources or to enroll online visit http://www.tnquitline.org.
Along with counseling, partnering with health professionals is a proven way to help smokers quit for good. People who work with health care professionals to quit smoking are ultimately more successful in quitting tobacco use and report higher satisfaction with overall health care received compared to untreated tobacco users, according to the U.S. Public Health Service.
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at http://www.tn.gov/health.