Public Health Concerns
Tobacco use continues to be the leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality, accounting for more than 450,000 deaths each year. In New York State, 25,000 deaths are caused by smoking and there are 570,000 New Yorkers living with tobacco-caused illness. Smoking is a known cause of multiple cancers, heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and many other diseases. Smoking during and after pregnancy adversely affects fetal development and the health of infants. In addition, a recent U.S. Surgeon General’s report concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Overall, the impact of smoking and secondhand smoke on our society is enormous costing billions of dollars in healthcare expenditures, lost productivity and most importantly, personal lives.
A recent article in the July 2010 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Don’t Forget Tobacco, reminds readers that cigarette smoking is still the most common cause of preventable death and disability in the U.S. Although significant strides have been made in tobacco control, especially in New York State with the passage of the Clean Indoor Air Act in 2003 and higher taxes on tobacco products, there is still much work to be done in order to prevent premature death and disease related to smoking. Physicians play a critical role in helping patients quit smoking and cite a physician’s advice to quit as an important motivator. Physicians are encouraged to take MSSNY’s CME courses on Effective Tobacco Dependence: Pharmacotherapy and Counseling and Tobacco Use in Adolescents and Women by visiting http://cme.mssny.org. Additional resources are listed below which provide valuable information on services available in New York State as well as reputable websites on tobacco dependence
The New York State Smokers Quitsite
The New York State Smokers Quitline offers free coaching; FREE starter kit of Nicotine Patches, Gum or Lozenges for eligible NYS smokers; tips and information and a new Online Smokefree Community where you can get a personalized quit plan. Healthcare providers can use the Fax-to-Quit program to refer their tobacco–using patients and can obtain posters and literature on tobacco use for their offices. The toll-free Quitline number is 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) and the Quitline Website is www.nysmokefree.com.
Secondhand smoke affects Everyone
Resources for Smoking Cessation
American Lung Association
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
CDC Tobacco Information and Prevention Source: Provides the public, the news media and public officials with current information related to tobacco use, prevention and control.
Global Tobacco Control
National Institute on Drug Abuse.(NIDA): Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products: NIDA Info Fact sheet discusses statistics associated with smoking and tobacco use, health hazards, promising research, and treatments that are available to help smokers quit. http://www.drugabuse.gov/Infofax/tobacco.html
New York State Department of Health Tobacco Control Program (NYTCP)
New York State Smokers’ Quitline: 1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487)
Smokefree.gov: Resources for health professionals
Treatobacco.net: Treatobacco.net provides evidence-based data and practical support for the treatment of tobacco dependence. It is aimed at physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, psychologists, researchers, and policy makers.http://www.treatobacco.net