During Great American Smokeout, tobacco users urged to quit

Posted 18 November 2022 at 11:21 am

Provided photo: From left include Halee Potter, United Memorial Medical Center’s outreach and education specialist; Julie Calvert, community engagement coordinator for Tobacco-Free GOW; and Renee Hungerford, executive director/CEO of Community Action of Orleans and Genesee County.

Press Release, Tobacco-Free GOW

The Great American Smokeout, observed on November 17 this year, was a day Tobacco-Free Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming partnered with the American Cancer Society, United Memorial Medical Center and Community Action of Orleans and Genesee to help our community commit to quitting tobacco products.

“The most important thing smokers and vapers can do to improve their health is to quit smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products,” said Martin Mahoney, MD, PhD, professor of oncology and smoking cessation specialist at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Most people know the devastating impact of tobacco. Yet 34 million American adults still smoke cigarettes.

In New York State, smoking kills about 22,000 adult smokers every year. Another 650,000 adults in NYS live with smoking-related illnesses including poor reproductive outcomes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

The efforts of Tobacco-Free GOW, Community Action, UMMC, health systems, as well as state and local legislation, have led to record low smoking rates among adults and youths.

The adult cigarette smoking rate in New York State achieved a new low of 12 percent in 2020, a rate lower than the U.S. average of 15.5 percent. Among young adults, ages 18 to 24, the smoking rate is even lower, at 5.5 percent.

Despite these milestones, approximately 1.7 million adults in New York State still smoke. Adults with poor mental health, less than a high school education or annual incomes of less than $25,000 smoke at much higher rates than the general adult population.

To help reduce smoking rates during Great American Smokeout events this week and beyond, Community Action provided support and resources to people in the Holley Community Center wishing to quit. Team members distributed information kits on smoking cessation and how to get help quitting.

“Community Action of Orleans and Genesee is committed to help improve the health and wellness of our community members,” said Renee Hungerford, executive director/CEO. “We are proud to partner with Tobacco-Free GOW and UMMC’s Cancer Prevention Program in raising awareness of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout campaign.”

The Great American Smokeout is a national event that promotes tobacco and vape cessation by encouraging people to quit even for one day. It was founded to help tobacco and e-cigarette users begin a cessation journey.

Support is available for Western New Yorkers who want to quit. The New York State Smokers’ Quitline is a confidential service for all New York State residents who wish to overcome tobacco use, including e-cigarettes. Residents of all ages may contact the Quitline for support and educational materials.

Free offerings include individualized coaching and assistance with quit-planning from experienced Quit Coaches, text and chat support and free stop-smoking medications such as nicotine patches or nicotine gum for those 18 and older. In addition, the Quitline encourages teens and young adults (ages 13-24) to text “DROPTHEVAPE” to 88709 to join “This Is Quitting,” a free texting support program for help with quitting vaping. Visit nysmokefree.com anytime for more information or call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) seven days a week, beginning at 9 a.m.