Department of Public Health
Thomas Carbone, Director of Public Health
36 Bartlet St.
Andover, MA 01810
Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Andover Health Division Reminds Residents of The Great American Smokeout This Month
ANDOVER — The Andover Health Division reminds residents that The Great American Smokeout begins on Nov. 17 and encourages those who use tobacco products to make a plan to quit.
Each year in mid-November, tobacco users across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. “Making a plan to quit, or even quitting for just one day, is an important step toward a healthy life and can reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases,” said Thomas Carbone, Andover Director of Public Health.
Local health officials strongly encourage those seeking to end tobacco use to call the Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW. The quit line is a free and confidential telephone counseling service for Massachusetts residents. Counselors at the helpline provide advice on medications and determine if the caller’s insurance covers tobacco use cessation. The helpline also invites friends and family members of tobacco users to call in.
“We’re excited about the availability of a helpline,” said Carbone. “Behavioral counseling, including the type of service available through the helpline, has been shown to double the chance of quitting smoking permanently. We encourage residents to utilize this resource.”
On average, 20-25 percent of smokers who participate in counseling through the helpline are still not smoking six months after they call.
Residents participating in the MassHealth and Commonwealth Care insurance programs have coverage to help them quit both smoking and smokeless tobacco products. Both of those insurance plans allow participants to pay their usual co-pays for crave-reducing medication such as the nicotine patch, gum and lozenges, as well as bupropion or Chantix. In addition, MassHealth members can meet with a counselor to learn how to quit by calling 1-800-841-2900, while Commonwealth Care members can call their plan’s customer service line for a referral.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 55.8 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. There is also an estimated 12.4 million cigar smokers and 8.8 million smokeless tobacco users (chewing tobacco and snuff). Cigarette smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States and half of all people who smoke will die from a smoking-related illness.
The Great American Smokeout can also motivate residents wanting to end their dependence on electronic cigarettes and other vaping products that deliver nicotine. Electronic cigarettes use various doses of nicotine with some carrying 10 mg, a lethal dose in children. In addition, some studies have found that some electronic cigarettes produce cancer-causing chemicals in the vapor they produce.
Some manufacturers market electronic cigarettes as an effective tool to stop smoking. But there is no consensus among those in the scientific community to prove such a claim. In addition, the United States Food and Drug Administration has not approved electronic cigarettes as an effective method to quit smoking.
The Andover Health Department notes that most smokers have to try a few times before they quit for good. The overriding message during the Great American Smokeout is to keep trying!