Tobacco use is a significant health issue in our community. According to the latest Community Needs Assessment report, approximately 20% of Lancaster County adults—or 81,085 people—smoke. As individuals, we can all take action to reduce tobacco use and build a healthier community. Read on to learn 4 fairly easy ideas you can consider today.
Save Cold Turkey For The Day After Thanksgiving
If you are a smoker, don’t try to quit on your own, “cold-turkey,” without support. Studies show that medication increases the likelihood of successfully quitting tobacco by up to 70%. Consider using over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), including patches, lozenges, gum and inhalers, or talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for Chantix or Wellbutrin/Zyban.
Every state has a toll-free quitline. In Pennsylvania it is 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669). The PA Quitline provides resources, cessation counseling, and free NRT to any resident who calls.
The Tobacco Free Coalition of Lancaster County and Lancaster General Health offer group and individual sessions to help you quit tobacco for good. For information, call 717-544-4636.
Be A Supportive Resource
In a caring and supportive manner, consider addressing a family member, friend, neighbor, or coworker who uses tobacco. Ask if he or she would like your help quitting. But first, take the time to learn how nicotine affects tobacco users and how strong the addiction can be. Then discuss how you can help and support them to manage stress. Be sure to congratulate them for any small accomplishments they make.
Encourage Public Policy Change
Influence the big picture. Learn how you can contact your legislators to support policies that encourage smoke-free environments at multi-unit housing properties and parks. Policies like this improve air quality and reduce the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, creating a healthier environment for all. If you don’t see a Young Lungs at Play (YLAP) sign in your local park or are interested in learning more about tobacco-free policies, please contact Sue Lackmann at 717-544-3284.
Policy change is possible. The recent FDA ban of e-cigarette sales to minors is a perfect case in point. Although manufacturers marketed the battery-operated devices as a way for smokers to quit, opponents contended that because e-cigarettes contain nicotine, they actually encouraged people, especially teens, to develop the smoking habit.
Work With Your Schools...And Your Kids
Encourage your local schools to offer evidenced-based prevention programs that will help reduce the number youth who start using tobacco. And talk to your child about traditional cigarettes and trends with other tobacco products, such as cigars, little cigarettes, and electronic nicotine delivery devices, like e-cigarettes, hookahs, and vape pens. The Tobacco-Free Kids website is a great resource.