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Great American Smokeout: You can quit vaping or smoking


November 19, 2019

From Havre’s HELP Committee

For more than 40 years, the American Cancer Society has hosted the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November. The Great American Smokeout is an opportunity for smokers to commit to healthy, smoke-free lives — not just for a day, but all year round.

The Great American Smokeout provides an opportunity for individuals, community groups, businesses, health care providers and others to encourage people to use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and initiate a smoking cessation plan on the day of the event.

According to The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, tobacco use exacts a heavy toll. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death, claiming the lives of more than 480,000 adults in the United States each year, along with an estimated 41,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure. Currently, 16 million people are suffering from smoking-caused illnesses.

Closer to home, smoking has a significant impact on our state. 1,600 Montanans die each year from their own smoking. That means 19,000 Montana kids alive today will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. Annual health care costs in Montana directly caused by smoking total $440 million, with Medicaid costs caused by smoking totaling $81 million. These do not include health costs caused by exposure to secondhand smoke, smoking-caused fires, smokeless tobacco use, or cigar and pipe smoking.

In addition to lung cancer, smoking can lead to a variety of respiratory complications and chronic diseases including asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, coronary heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, and cancer of the mouth and throat, bladder, stomach, cervix, kidneys and pancreas. A smoker’s lifespan is about 14 years shorter than a non-smoker’s.

A new epidemic: Vaping

E-cigarettes — called “vaping” or “vapes” — are now the most commonly used tobacco product among Montana’s teens. According to the Montana Office of Public Instruction, more than half of Montana high school students have tried e-cigarettes and 1 in 3 Montana high school students currently use e-cigarettes.

E-cigarette aerosol is not “harmless water vapor.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the e-cigarette aerosol that users breathe from the device and exhale can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including:

• Nicotine. In any form, nicotine is unsafe for youth. Nicotine is highly addictive and can prime the brain for addiction to other drugs in the future.

• Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs.

• Flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease.

• Cancer-causing chemicals.

• Heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead.

Free help is available at Montana Quit Line

Kicking the habit isn’t easy, but there are resources to help such as the Montana Tobacco Quit Line. Through this free service, you will be guided into a program that will best fit your individual needs. The Montana Tobacco Quit Line offers specialized counseling for a broad spectrum of tobacco and e-cigarette users, including pregnant smokers, teen users, spit tobacco users, and for American Indians through the American Indian Commercial Tobacco Quit Line.

Montana Tobacco Quit Line services include

• A free personalized quit plan.

• Five free pro-active cessation coaching sessions.

• 8 weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy — gum, patches or lozenges — available for callers engaged in the program.

• Reduced cost cessation medication.

• A pregnancy and postpartum program offers special services to women who enroll while they are pregnant. Call 1-800-Quit Now.

• In addition to the Tobacco Quit Line services, the American Indian Commercial Tobacco Quit Line offers free culturally sensitive coaching with American Indian coaches. The direct line number is 1-855-372-0037.


New Youth Quit Program: My Life, My Quit

A new program is available. My Life, My Quit offers customized help designed specifically for young people, teens.

• Five free coaching sessions either by text, chat, or phone.

• Dedicated toll-free number 1-855-891-9989.

• Online enrollment through mylifemyquit.com.

• Respects privacy through confidential enrollment and coaching. No one will know someone enrolls unless they want them to know.

• Specially trained coaches to work with teens and youth on quitting tobacco, including e-cigarettes.

• Additional text messaging for extra support.

• Educational materials designed for teens and youth with messages about quitting tobacco and e-cigarettes, and how to ask for help.

The Great American Smokeout provides a great opportunity to make your plan to quit, but every day is a good day to quit. Help with quitting is free and just a phone call away: Montana Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or 800-784-8669, American Indian Commercial Tobacco Program at 855-372-0037, or My Life, My Quit: 855-891-9989 or go online at http://www.mylifemyquit.com .

For you, your family and your loved ones, make the call or go online today.


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