Smoke-free Living Saves Lives
ATLANTA – Tobacco use is the No. 1 preventable cause of death in Georgia. Thursday, Nov. 16, is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. By quitting, even for just one day, or using the day to make a plan to quit, smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life.
Every year in Georgia, nearly 12,000 people die from tobacco-related illnesses – that’s more than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined. The effects of smoking go well beyond just the individuals who use tobacco-products. About 1,500 Georgians die annually due to exposure to secondhand smoke.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Most exposure to secondhand smoke occurs in workplaces and homes.
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), in partnership with the Atlanta Apartment Association, Inc., Emory University Prevention Research Center, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association, is working to educate property owners, property managers and residents on the dangers of secondhand smoke and the need for smoke-free policies.
“Smoke-free environments are critical to promoting the health of Georgians of all ages,” said Jean O’Connor, JD, DrPH, director of the Chronic Disease Prevention section in the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke where we live will help reduce cancer, heart attacks and strokes, asthma and ear infections in children, and decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.”
More than 1.5 million Georgians age 18 and older smoke cigarettes. Recent data indicates tobacco use is increasing among Georgia teens and young adults - putting even more lives at risk for tobacco-related illnesses. Georgians who use tobacco and are ready to quit, can contact the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line at 1-877-270-STOP (7867). The Georgia Tobacco Quit Line provides confidential counseling to all Georgia tobacco users age 13 and older. The service is free and available 24/7. For more information on smoke-free living, log on to http://breatheeasygahomes.org/.