IHS Joins Tobacco Cessation Campaign
IHS has joined the national CDC tobacco education campaign, "Tips from Former Smokers," to help deter the use of commercial tobacco in Indian Country.
The health consequences of smoking are staggering; each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking, and an estimated 49,000 of these smoking-related deaths are a result of secondhand smoke exposure. And the consequences are even more dramatic in Indian Country:
- American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) have the highest prevalence of smoking and other tobacco use of any population group in the United States.
- According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 17.8 percent of AI/AN women smoked during their pregnancy, compared to 13.9 percent of non-Hispanic white women. Tobacco use during pregnancy is one of the key preventable causes of adverse pregnancy outcomes.
- Nationally, Native American youth living on reservations have the highest smokeless tobacco use of all U.S. population groups. Smokeless tobacco can cause cancer of the esophagus, mouth, and pancreas.
- Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among AI/ANs, and tobacco use is an important risk factor. Cancer is the second leading cause of death among AI/ANs nationally, and lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death.
Most smokers — nearly 70% — say they plan to quit, and half make a serious attempt for a day or longer each year. The "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign was designed to create a sense of immediacy about the damage smoking causes to encourage people to stop smoking now or not to start.
Please help us spread the message throughout Indian Country about the benefits of quitting and not starting the use of commercial tobacco products. Further information on commercial tobacco use among AI/ANs is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/groups/american-indian-alaska-native.html and http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0251.pdf .
General information on the national campaign and tips for quitting smoking are available at http://www.cdc.gov/Features/TobaccoEducationCampaign/ and http://betobaccofree.hhs.gov/index.html.