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May 30, 2013

DHH Encourages Smokers to "Talk With Your Doctor" for Help Quitting for Good; May 31 is World No Tobacco Day

BATON ROUGE, LA — The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are encouraging smokers to talk with their doctors about quitting smoking. The “Talk With Your Doctor” initiative is underway this week and part of CDC’s national tobacco education campaign, Tips From Former Smokers, which not only tells the story of how real people’s lives were changed forever due to their smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, but also motivates people to quit.

The campaign features a Louisiana resident, Tiffany, who quit smoking so she could live to be around for her daughter, who was the same age Tiffany was when her own mother died of lung cancer from smoking.

From May 27 through June 2, select Tips From Former Smokers television ads, as well as digital and online ads, will feature the following tagline: “You Can Quit. Talk With Your Doctor for Help.” CDC hopes this call to action will empower patients to ask their doctors and other health care providers to help them quit. In addition, May 31 is “World No Tobacco Day”-a great time for smokers to consider seeking help to quit.

Nationally, about one in five U.S. adults (43.8 million) are current cigarette smokers. In Louisiana, the smoking rate is slightly higher than the national average at 22 percent. Smoking kills 443,000 Americans and 6,500 Louisianans each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Lung Association. Tobacco doesn’t just kill; it leads to many chronic diseases and conditions such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and lung disease, all of which can cause long-term suffering. The good news is that more than 70 percent of smokers want to quit and about 50 percent try to quit each year.

Dr. Takeisha Davis, Louisiana assistant state health officer and medical director for the Office of Public Health, says, “We know that smoking remains a major public health problem in Louisiana. As physicians, we can play a key role in helping patients quit. Louisiana hopes that the ‘Talk With Your Doctor’ initiative will help to remind our health care providers of the importance of talking with their patients about smoking and helping them quit for good.”

Physicians play an important role in helping motivate patients to quit. Advice from a physician more than doubles the chances that a patient will quit successfully. Physicians should routinely ask patients whether they use tobacco and encourage those who do to quit, and patients should feel empowered to talk with their doctor for help.

The Tips From Former Smokers campaign features real people who are living with serious diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, heart disease, asthma and diabetes, which were caused by smoking or secondhand smoke exposure. Their compelling stories send a powerful message: Quit smoking now-or better yet, don’t start. Studies show that the sooner a smoker quits, the better.

“Tobacco use is the top cause of preventable death in the world, and people who smoke or use other tobacco products are putting themselves at risk for debilitating chronic disease and a shorter lifespan,” said J.T. Lane, Assistant Secretary for Public Health. “Today is the day you should make a commitment to improving your health by kicking the habit. Talk with your doctor, or you can also make a toll-free call to the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW and speak with a trained coach who will give you the support and encouragement you need to end this deadly habit.”

The Louisiana Tobacco Quitline is a service provided through a partnership between the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ Tobacco Control Program and the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living. The two programs coordinate their efforts in tobacco prevention and control by providing statewide coordination of existing evidence-based tobacco control initiatives, funding innovative community programs for tobacco control, offering services for people who are ready to quit and developing statewide media campaigns to help reduce the excessive burden of tobacco use on the state’s resources and also improve the overall health and quality of life in Louisiana. For more information about the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline, visit www.QuitWithUsLA.org or call 1.800.QUIT.NOW. Among the resources available is the Louisiana Smoking Cessation Trust, which provides free access to cessation services through physicians, prescription drugs and counseling for individuals who began smoking prior to September 1, 1988.

For more information about the Tips campaign, including profiles of the featured former smokers, other campaign resources, and links to the ads, visit www.cdc.gov/tips. The ads can be downloaded by clicking on the following link, scrolling down the center page and clicking on the terms agreement button http://www.plowsharegroup.com/media_downloads/cdc_tobacco_education.php

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH’s blog, Twitter account and Facebook.

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