Story by Activate Allen County
Community members around the world are working tirelessly to put an end to tobacco use. Every year, May 31 is designated as World No Tobacco Day which works to highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco use. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco use kills nearly 6 million people around the world.
In the United States, tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of death and disease. It is well known that smoking causes many types of cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, as well as other health complications. However, even knowing these facts, many people are still caught in the addiction to these harmful products.
In Allen County, according to the most recent health assessment (2014), 22% of adults currently smoke. Among our youth, the number of e-cigarette users continues to rise according to this same assessment.
So what can we do, as a community, to come together and continue to address this issue within our county?
Personally, you can be an advocate against smoking and discouraging those around you and in your sphere of influence from ever starting to smoke in the first place. It is no secret that quitting and staying quit is a challenging task for many smokers to accomplish. The evidence is clear in that over half of those adults here in Allen County have made at least one attempt to quit.
For those you know that are smokers who do want to quit, there are some resources that you can point them too. The Ohio Tobacco Quit Line is one such resource. By enrolling you can obtain a quit coach and materials in an online setting to assist in your desire to quit smoking.
There are also resources available online through The American Cancer Society and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ask your physician about options available to you. There are also policy and infrastructure changes that can reduce exposure to secondhand smoke such as tobacco free parks, schools and other public venues. By supporting these types of changes, you are assisting in creating a healthier environment for us all to live, work and play in here in Allen County.
As we come together as a nation and world to recognize May 31 as World No Tobacco Day, let’s not forget that improvements in policies and quitting smoking take much more than one day to accomplish. Decreasing the number of users of cigarettes and other tobacco products, as well as the reducing secondhand exposure, takes a community that together desires to see change and take action. For more information on Activate Allen County and resources available, call 419-221-5035.
About Activate Allen County
Activate Allen County is a public health initiative committed to reducing obesity and smoking in Lima and Allen County by promoting healthy eating, active living and a tobacco free lifestyle. Activate Allen County educates people about the relationship between policy, environment and community design to their health and well-being. Find out more at activateallencounty.com.