The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported last week that more than 45 million Americans smoked in 2006, or 20.8 percent of the population, with 80 percent of them daily smokers. The CDC also said the numbers have not changed since 2004, which suggests that smoking prevention efforts have stalled.
“These statistics are a reminder that addiction to smoking is one of the hardest addictions to stop,” says Scott Leischow, PhD, deputy director for strategic partnerships and policy at the Arizona Cancer Center and member of Arizona''s TRUST Commission overseeing state tobacco control efforts. “But we know that every smoker can quit, and the tools to quit smoking are more available in Arizona than in most other states. Arizona is a national leader in offering effective smoking cessation programs throughout the state.”
According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco use not only causes lung cancer but is also directly linked to at least 14 other cancers, heart disease, and lung disease. Smoking is responsible for one in three cancer deaths, and one in five deaths from all causes. Today, 8.6 million people are living with serious illnesses caused by smoking.
This is the first Smokeout since Arizona’s Proposition 201 took effect on May 1, 2007, prohibiting smoking in most public places. With half of the United State now protected by smoke-free laws such as this one, and a variety of cessation resources available, the American Cancer Society emphasizes that there has never been a better time to quit smoking and enjoy the health benefits.
Arizona has its own free telephone counseling service called the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline (1-800-55-66-222), which is based at the University of Arizona. This service can also refer callers to local, free, in-person cessation counseling and offers help to nonsmokers who want to learn how to support their favorite smoker in quitting the habit. For more information, go to www.ashline.org.
The single most important way to reduce cancer risk is to never start smoking, and smoking cessation at the youngest age possible reduces the risks of cancer later in life. In addition, "we know that the effectiveness of cancer treatment is reduced when cancer patients continue to smoke,” comments Arizona Cancer Center Director David S. Alberts, M.D, “and continuing to smoke increases the risk that some second cancers will occur after the first is treated.”
The Arizona Cancer Center is the state’s premier National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. With primary locations at the University of Arizona in Tucson and Scottsdale Healthcare, the Center has more than a dozen research and education offices throughout the state and 300 physician and scientist members working to prevent and cure cancer. For more information, go to www.arizonacancercenter.org