Harrisburg, PA – Acting Health Secretary and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine today encouraged Pennsylvanians to participate in a Great American Smokeout event near them to learn more about smoking cessation resources and to take the first step to quitting tobacco use.
“Smoking kills and these events give people the tools they need to break this dangerous addiction,” said Dr. Levine. “Quitting smoking lowers your risk for smoking-related diseases and can add years to your life. It is difficult, but we want smokers to know that help is available and the effort is worth it.”
The Department of Health has many outreach efforts dedicated to curbing tobacco use in Pennsylvania, including a telephone quitline, counter tobacco marketing, surveillance of tobacco sales to minors, and promotion of clinical-practice tobacco addiction guidelines. The department also supports the Fax to Quit Program, Young Lungs at Play, and a wide range of tobacco use statistics and reports.
Pennsylvanians interested in stopping tobacco use have access to a free “Quitline” at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-DEJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569) (Spanish). Trained staff will help callers develop and carry out a plan to quit smoking. One-on-one coaching, ongoing support and resources are available, including free nicotine replacement therapy in the form of patches, lozenges or gum.
The Great American Smokeout is an annual event sponsored by the American Cancer Society on the third Thursday in November each year. The observance encourages smokers to quit smoking on the day of the Smokeout – even for one day.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, smoking leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body and is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals; hundreds are harmful, and about 70 can cause cancer.
You can learn more about tobacco prevention and control at www.health.pa.gov, and additional information can be found on the American Cancer Society's website at www.cancer.org.
MEDIA CONTACT: April Hutcheson, 717-787-1783 or firstname.lastname@example.org
# # #
Editor’s Note - The following are the Great American Smokeout observances that the department is supporting or attending:
- The American Lung Association is hosting a “Freedom from Smoking Facilitator” training to teach individuals to lead cessation clinics in their own communities.
- Mid-Valley High School in Lackawanna County will hang posters to remember those who have lost their lives due to smoking and asked for their loss to motivate others to quit;
- East Stroudsburg North School in Monroe County will train students with Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) materials and provided smoking cessation presentations;
- Lakeland Jr-Sr High School in Monroe County will teach students about the impact of tobacco use in the community through presentations and conversation;
- West Scranton High School in Lackawanna County will provide students resources on the dangers of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco;
- Holy Cross High School in Lackawanna County set up educational displays on the hazards of smoking and had booths for TRU membership sign-ups; and
- Penn State Worthington Scranton pledged to provide educational materials to students about quitting smoking during the week of Thanksgiving.
- The message, "Great American Smokeout 11/16. For Help Quitting Smoking 1-800-QUIT-NOW” was featured on the PECO Crown lights building in downtown Philadelphia on November 14, 15 and today.
- The U.S. Navy Reserve Pittsburgh, NOSC, in Pittsburgh, along with Tobacco Free Allegheny, will educate sailors on smoking cessation;
- “Allegheny Quits for Life” is a continuation of a week-long series of events and communications designed to support Allegheny County residents’ efforts to quit smoking; and
- The Allegheny County Health Department will encourage participants to share messages about Allegheny Quits for Life on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout this week.
- Philadelphia Department of Public Health will host a table at an event at Methodist Hospital for disseminating resources and conducting carbon monoxide meter tests, a tool that helps smokers quit by revealing levels of toxins in their breath; and
- Philadelphia Department of Public Health will also support Great American Smokeout events at Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) sites as they enhance efforts around smoke-free multi-unit housing, building upon the tobacco-free policy passed in August 2015 for all residential units of the Philadelphia Housing Authority.
This list is not exhaustive of all Great American Smokeout events, as many entities may act independently of the department and the American Cancer Society.
# # #