May 31st is World No Tobacco Day!

I want to share an interesting blog article titled, “World No Tobacco Day: Economic Development is Human Development”, authored by Tom Novotny, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. In his article, Tom shares some key insights regarding the tobacco epidemic and its effects on the United States economy. World No Tobacco Day is an opportunity to celebrate the progress we have made against the global tobacco epidemic.

As stated further in Tom’s article:

“In the United States, more than $300 billion, and globally, about $1 trillion are lost each year due to illness and lost productivity related to tobacco use. These losses include both healthcare and indirect costs such as lost wages and family care. It is also important to recognize that these economic challenges impact the poor disproportionately. Today, around 80 percent of the world’s smokers live in low- and middle-income countries. Simply put: Tobacco use hurts economic progress in developing countries and harms the economic well-being of people throughout the world.

Here in the United States:

•  More than 25 percent of adults who are living below the poverty level smoke cigarettes, compared to about 14 percent of adults living at or above the poverty level.

•  About 25 percent of adults who have not graduated from high school and about 33 percent of those who have GED qualification smoke cigarettes, compared to 7.4 percent of those with a college education and 3.6 percent of those with a graduate degree.

We can reduce the health and economic damage of tobacco use with policies and programs that are proven to work across different countries and economic conditions. There are numerous evidence-based strategies and interventions available, many of which are described in the 2014 Surgeon General’s report, The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress.

The Department of Health and Human Services is committed to increasing public education and awareness around the harms of tobacco through campaigns like CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers and FDA’s The Real Cost. Additionally, the national quitline portal (1-800-QUIT-NOW) and Smokefree.gov offer free information and resources to help individuals of all economic backgrounds quit using tobacco and remain tobacco free.”

Take a few minutes to read Tom’s article and to peruse the resources he shares to help individuals stop smoking. This is an epidemic effecting every one of us … if you smoke – stop now! If you know someone who smokes – show them how much you care and help them to stop … today!