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Friday, December 3, 2021

Smokers encouraged to ‘talk with their doctor’ to quit smoking

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A woman, 52, wearing a blond, shoulder-length wig and speaking with the help of an artificial voice box inserted into her throat, sits in her living room. Her raspy, artificial voice heeds a warning to future grandparents: if you’re a smoker, record your voice reading a story or singing a lullaby to give to your grandchildren before smoking affects your health, as it did hers.

“Terrie,” who was diagnosed with both oral and throat cancers in 2001, is one of the individuals featured in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Tips From Former Smokers 2013 media campaign that raises awareness about the suffering caused by smoking and secondhand smoke exposure.

“The stories used as part of this campaign can be difficult to watch, but each of them sheds light on the tragic reality of how tobacco use devastates lives,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “Our hope is that these messages resonate with Hoosier smokers and they make the decision to quit tobacco once and for all.”

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the Indiana, killing nearly 9,700 Hoosiers each year. For every person who dies from tobacco use, another 20 are suffering from one or more serious smoking-related illnesses. The Tips 2013 campaign shares stories of individuals from around the country who are suffering from many of these chronic diseases.

Tips 2013 urges tobacco users to make a quit attempt, with a specific piece aimed at encouraging smokers to talk with their doctor. The piece, titled “You Can Quit. Talk with Your Doctor for Help,” provides an opportunity for health professionals to ask patients about their tobacco use and encourage them to make a quit attempt. Health care providers are one of the most important sources of health information for patients and their families. Tobacco users are more likely to be successful in quitting if a health care provider encourages them to quit.

“Today is the day to make the decision to quit smoking,” said VanNess. “It is a difficult addiction to break, but talking with your doctor really can help. He or she can help you find a way to quit smoking that’s right for you.”

There are more than one million smokers in Indiana and research indicates 80 percent of Hoosier adult smokers have a desire to quit. Hoosiers can access free resources, including a personal, trained Quit Coach, by calling the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or by visiting QuitNowIndiana.com. To make it even easier to access help, Web-based and text messaging support programs are now available.

Health care providers are invited to join the Quit Now Indiana Preferred Provider Network, a free program offered through the Indiana State Department of Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation division. The Preferred Provider Network provides free resources and guidance to Indiana health care providers to help their patients become tobacco-free. For more information concerning the Preferred Provider Network, visit QuitNowIndiana.com or contact (317) 234-1787.

Health care providers have a unique opportunity to motivate their patients to quit and improve the chances that they will be successful. The Indiana State Department of Health is partnering with the Indiana State Medical Association, Indiana Academy of Family Physicians, the Indiana Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics and other health organizations to work together to raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke and to motivate smokers to quit.

For more information, visit StateHealth.in.gov. To learn more about the Tips 2013 campaign, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/.

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