The American Lung Society reports there are still about 46 million people who smoke in the U.S. Of that number almost all will develop some kind of health problems related to their tobacco use.
“The state’s tobacco prevention control program is working,” said H&H Services program coordinator Chris Holmes. He said a day dedicated to stopping smoking has other beneficial side effects that have real impact. Holmes said kids that use drugs usually start by getting addicted to cigarettes.
“We can trace the advance of a kid’s drug use to smoking,” said Holmes, “and this program sort of heads the kids off from developing addictive tendencies.”
The Washington state Health and Human Services reports that the state has reached its 10-year goal. Adult smoking as dropped by 30 percent since the state began its tobacco prevention program in 2000.
The report says that the state has around 295,000 fewer smokers and the decline will save about 98,000 ex-smokers from early graves. The program is also saving billion of dollars in insurance costs, monies that would otherwise be used to take care of the folks who smoke but don’t have health insurance.
“I and my husband quit about five years ago,” said H&H Service assistant Marnee Davis.
She said she and her husband had talked about quitting off-and-on for several years and eventually psyched themselves up for it.
“We also added up what we’d spent on cigarettes over the years,” said Davis. “We were stunned to see both our habits had cost us about $50,000.”
Davis said she and here husband had calculated the cost of their smoking habit before the price of cigarettes went up. She said that the fact they could have purchased a house for what they’d spent on cigarettes made it that much easier to quit and they were surprised at how easy it was to do so.
“It wasn’t that hard but the true way to do it, is, you have to have already quit in your mind, and be ready to quit, before you quit,” she said.
Davis tried the non-smoking gum, which she didn’t like. Finally she settled on the stick-on non-smoking patches, “...and they worked,” she said.
Davis said it took her about five weeks to give up smoking entirely.
“The first day I put on the nonsmoking patch was the last day I ever really had a craving for cigarettes,” said Marnee.
All Washington residents can get free help quitting tobacco by calling Linda Hartung at the local Department of Health: 360-795-8630. Or the state Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.