FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Elected officials must do more to support Kentuckians who want to quit using tobacco products, say cancer patients, survivors, and advocates who are marking the American Cancer Society’s 48th annual Great American Smokeout® this Thursday, Nov. 16.
The Great American Smokeout is a day for people who use tobacco to create a plan to quit.
Not only does the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) want to help people quit, but we also want to help Kentucky’s youth never start, which will help improve the health of Kentucky’s workforce. A well-funded tobacco cessation and prevention program is essential to provide the support needed to help people quit and to prevent kids and young adults from starting to use tobacco.
“On this Great American Smokeout, ACS CAN urges Gov. Beshear and state lawmakers to invest $10 million annually in fact-based tobacco prevention and cessation programs,” said Doug Hogan, government relations director, ACS CAN. “For every $1 spent on comprehensive prevention and cessation programs, states receive up to $55 in savings from averted tobacco-related health care costs. So, if the state invested $10 million, it would not only be a great step toward a healthier workforce, but it could also save up to $550 million.”
Tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of disease and death, and smoking is linked to at least 12 types of cancers, including lung, oral, breast and colorectal cancers. Each year, more than 8,900 Kentuckians die from a smoking-related disease and over 8,700 kids try cigarettes for the first time.
“The Great American Smokeout is not just an opportunity for people who use tobacco to set a plan to quit. It’s also a clear wake-up call for lawmakers to say it’s time for Kentucky to stand up to Big Tobacco,” Hogan stated. “For too long, Kentucky has allowed the tobacco industry to addict people to deadly, cancer-causing products. It’s time to say, ‘enough is enough.’ Our residents deserve better.”