Safe and Healthy Me - Tobacco Free
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Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death each year:
- In the United States, it causes more than 450,000 deaths.
- In Alaska, it causes nearly 600 deaths.
- Tobacco leads to more preventables deaths than suicide, motor vehicle crashes, homicide, alcohol use, and HIV/AIDS combined.
- For every smoking-related death, 20 more people suffer with at least one serious illness from smoking.
Alaska’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program is working hard to protect our kids, help tobacco users quit, and support those who want to protect their loved ones and their communities from exposure to the toxins in secondhand smoke.
You can take steps to protect your health, and the health of those you love:
Protecting our Kids!
Today in Alaska, fewer kids are using tobacco than ever before. Youth use rates dropped 50% between 1995 (37%) and 2003 (19%). There was another 40% drop between 2007 (17.8%) and 2013 (10.6%).
How is this happening? Across Alaska, kids are responding to changing individual and community expectations. This is motivated by:
- An effective enforcement program preventing tobacco sales to youth. In 2001, more than 35% of tobacco vendors sold tobacco to kids; in 2012, only 7% sold to kids.
- A Tobacco Prevention program to help schools adopt tobacco-free campuses. In the past several years, 19 school districts achieved Gold Policy status, with more than a half dozen working toward that goal.
- Active community prevention programs across the state helping to establish smokefree environments – smokefree workplaces and multi-unit housing policies.
- Efforts to increase the cost of tobacco, a proven way to keep kids from starting. State taxes increased in 1997 and 2004, and local taxes were initiated or increased in Anchorage, Sitka, Juneau, Bethel, Klawock and the Mat-Su Borough.
What can you do??
- If you use tobacco, quit.
- Always keep your home and car tobacco-free and smokefree.
- Does your child’s school have a tobacco-free campus policy?? IF NOT: talk with your principal, get support from other parents, contact the district superintendent – and check in for technical assistance help from the Mission 100: A Tobacco Free Alaska to get the process going.
- Work with local coalitions to advocate for smokefree and tobacco-free
- workplace properties
- multi-unit housing
- community gathering sites, and
- Help your community establish higher prices on tobacco through tax increases.
For more information: 2012 U. S. Surgeon General’s Report: Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults
The number one thing tobacco users can do to improve their health and extend their lives is to quit. Since 2002, free support resources have been made available to Alaskans.
Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line, 1-800 QUIT NOW, is a toll-free telephone-based cessation program that provides free coaching, self-guided quit materials, and nicotine replacement patches and gum to all Alaska adults who want to quit using tobacco.
Everyone has the right to breathe smoke-free air!
Secondhand smoke is not merely a nuisance. It kills. Nearly 50,000 people in the United States die each year from heart disease and lung cancer alone, as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke. Other organs become diseased as toxins from tobacco smoke travel throughout the body. Adverse effects can be immediate and deadly. Heart attacks, asthma attacks and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome are among the consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Secondhand Smoke - 2006 Surgeon General report page and fact sheets »
If your workplace is not already smokefree – and 50% of Alaskans are currently not protected from exposure to secondhand smoke at their workplace – start the movement toward a smokefree workplace!
If you are the owner/manager, talk with your employees about their health, protecting the health of customers/visitors, and the health of the business. Research has shown that smokefree workplaces improve employee health and productivity. For the hospitality industry, the impact of smokefree policies has either a neutral or positive economic impact.
Alaskans expect smokefree! In a 2011 statewide survey, 85% of Alaska adults agreed that all indoor work areas should be smokefree.
Did You Know: Smokers in a smokefree workplace consume tobacco 11% to 15% less than average, and quit at a rate 84% higher than average.
If you don’t have a smokefree policy for your home, establish one NOW. Don’t wait.
The best thing you can do, and the easiest, is to establish the inside of your home - all inside areas with attached walls, including the garage – as a smokefree zone. No exceptions.
Include at least a 20-foot smokefree zone around your home. Don’t let secondhand smoke drift in through open doors or windows.
Establish a smokefree policy for your automobiles. Don’t ever smoke, or let anyone else smoke, inside your car. Rolling down the window doesn’t eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
Don’t ride in a vehicle where smoking is allowed.
Thinking about quitting is the first step, but how do you know if you are ready? This interactive quiz will help you think about your reasons for quitting and show you how our program can help you every step of the way.