Department of Public Health
Thomas Carbone, Director of Public Health
36 Bartlet St.
Andover, MA 01810
Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Andover Health Division Reminds Residents of The Great American Smokeout This Month
ANDOVER — The Andover Health Division reminds the community that the Great American Smokeout will take place on Nov. 16 and encourages those who use tobacco products to make a plan to quit.
Each year on the third Thursday of November, tobacco users across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States, killing more than 480,000 people each year – that’s more Americans than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined.
“Participation in the Great American Smokeout is a good time for smokers and tobacco users to set a goal to quit,” said Thomas Carbone, Andover Director of Public Health. “Quitting for even just one day or making a plan to quit will help tremendously toward the goal of maintaining a healthier lifestyle.”
While the United States has made a lot of progress in reducing smoking by both youth and adults — cutting adult smoking by more than half since the 1960s and youth smoking in half since 1997 — 8 percent of youth and 15.1 percent of adults still smoke, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
It’s not just cigarettes that are bad for your health. Other forms of tobacco, including cigars and spit or smokeless tobacco, are also harmful and addictive.
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.
“The services available through this helpline have greatly increased the success rate of people who are trying to quit smoking, and we hope that residents will take advantage of this resource.” Carbone added.
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.
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 and 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, however, 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 reminds residents 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! Non-tobacco users can be supportive of those trying to quit; cheer them on, buy them some balloons and let them lean on you.