The Georgia Tobacco Quit Line started up just two years ago, but is already proving to be a success.
According to Georgia Division of Public Health, tobacco is the number one preventable death, killing more Americans each year than alcohol, car accidents, and AIDS combined.
To help kick their smoking habit, many smokers are turning to the help of phone counseling services.
"They've tried everything, they've tried it on their own because we know that 46 percent of our smokers think they can do it on their own but they really have to have outside help,” says Diann McCrae, Tobacco Use Prevention Director.
That outside help really does make a difference. The statewide program provides screening, counseling, and follow-up services for those wanting to quit. Recent reports show that Georgia’s Tobacco Quit Line is effective.
Last year, 23-percent of callers stopped using tobacco for seven days. This year that number is up three percent.
The success rate for smokers who quit for a month or more was 21-percent in 2002. This year that number is rising.
"I feel it's an excellent program. I think we made a big difference in the last three years. Our program has been in existence for the last three years and we've just seen changes locally but just based on the data that just came out we know that we're making a difference,” McCrae says.
It’s not only making a difference, but also making a difference at a better average than the national rate.
It’s 13-percent while Georgia’s best quit rate is 26-percent.
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Overview of Tobacco Use
- Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, causing more than 400,000 deaths each year and resulting in an annual cost of more than $50 billion in direct medical costs.
- Each year, smoking kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse, car crashes, murders, suicides, and fires combined.
- Nationally, smoking results in more than 5 million years of potential life lost each year.
- Approximately 80 percent of adult smokers started smoking before the age of 18. Every day, nearly 3,000 young people under the age of 18 become regular smokers.
- More than 5 million children living today will die prematurely because of a decision they will make as adolescents, the decision to smoke cigarettes.
- Approximately 10 million people in the United States have died from smoking-attributable causes. Two million of those deaths, more than the population of Houston, have been from lung cancer alone.
- American smokers have consumed 17 trillion cigarettes. If laid end to end, those cigarettes would cover 900 million miles (a distance long enough to circle the Earth and Jupiter in certain alignments) or circle the earth at the equator more than 36,000 times.
- Almost two million Americans have not died from smoking-attributable diseases as a result of decisions they have made to not start or to discontinue smoking.
- About 48 million American adults smoke, but approximately 42 million more would have smoked without smoking prevention activities.
Source: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/overview/30yrs2t.htm (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).