On November 21, the 38th annual Great American Smokeout will encourage everyone to lead tobacco-free lives that will prevent tobacco-related diseases and improve overall health and quality of life. While the event is aimed at getting smokers to quit, Bismarck Burleigh Public Health and the Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy (the Center) will focus on ways to prevent tobacco use.
Smoking and secondhand smoke are known causes of cancer, COPD, stroke, heart disease, heart attacks and other serious health issues. Every year, tobacco use kills over 800 North Dakotans and costs $247 million in annual health care expenses. Several Surgeon General Reports have demonstrated that the best way to prevent tobacco-related disease is to never start using tobacco in the first place.
According to Bismarck Burleigh Public Health and the Center, tobacco prevention efforts are more important than ever because tobacco companies are finding new ways to market their products to youth. Brightly-colored packaging and fruit-flavored tobacco products that look and taste like candy are used to entice children to try tobacco.
“In the 1998 tobacco settlement lawsuit, tobacco companies promised to stop marketing to our kids, but they have not kept their word,” said Susan Kahler with Bismarck Burleigh Public Health. “Today, it’s not just about cigarettes, but includes tobacco’s expanding products that include fruit or candy-flavored cigars, smokeless tobacco and other nicotine-based products, such as electronic cigarettes.”
“We are fortunate to have a great group of students in Bismarck that work hard to educate the community about the effects of tobacco,” said Sue Kahler with Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health. “These kids learn about the harms of smoking and tobacco use and then pass that information on to their peers, friends, family and others in the hopes of inspiring change and providing a healthier life for themselves and the people they care about.”
To learn more about tobacco prevention contact Bismarck Burleigh Public Health at 355-1595 or visit www.breathend.com. For more information about quitting call 1-800-QUIT.NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit www.ndhealth.gov/ndquits.