Tag Archives: Great American Smokeout

Plan a Tobacco-Free Lifestyle during the Great American Smokeout

Let today be the day to stop smoking or using tobacco products of any kind. Today is the Great American Smokeout, an opportunity for people who use tobacco to commit to a healthy tobacco-free life. Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs. Whether it is in cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, or Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) products such as electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and vapes, the effects of nicotine are detrimental to your health.

Tobacco use is linked to the leading causes of death and hospitalization in South Carolina, which are cancer, heart disease, circulatory system disease and births/pregnancy complications, respectively.  Nearly 90% of all trachea, lung, and bronchus cancer deaths in South Carolina are smoking related.  According to the 2018 South Carolina Health Assessment, cigarette has been shown to increase South Carolina annual health care spending by $1.9 billion per year.

Cigarette Smoking in Adults_SC Health assessment

While South Carolina is making progress toward the CDC Healthy People 2020 goal of a 12% adult smoking rate – the current rate is 20.6% (2016).  Data from the most recent Adult Tobacco Survey (2014) shows that 6.2% of adults in South Carolina use e-cigarettes and 4.6% report using both combustible tobacco products like cigars and cigarettes, as well as using e-cigarettes or vapes.  ENDS products make tobacco prevention and cessation efforts more difficult due to the high concentration of nicotine found in the products (increasing nicotine addiction) and since many smoke-free policies have not been updated to include these products.

Cigarette Smoking in Teens_SC Health Assessment

While South Carolina has achieved the Healthy People 2020 goal of 16% or fewer high school students who are current smokers, the popularity of ENDS products again complicates this achievement. The 2017 Youth Tobacco Survey data show that the use of e-cigarettes or vapes (13%) surpassed the use of cigarettes (12%) for the first time. This new threat is expected to increase with the findings from the 2019 Youth Tobacco Survey slated to be available later this year. Nicotine in any form increases the risk of heart disease and addiction and is not safe for any age, especially adolescents.

Research shows that people who use tobacco are most successful in their efforts to quit when they have support. In fact, tobacco users are three times more likely to quit successfully with individualized counseling in combination with nicotine replacement therapies (over the counter or prescription) – all of which are available free of charge 24/7 through the DHEC administered SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW).  The SC Tobacco Quitline has resources to help you quit and stay quit. Information includes: Nicotine Anonymous meetings, self-help books and materials, and smoking counselors or coaches. The Quitline also has a Youth Support Program for teen tobacco users and a Spanish language Quitline available by calling 1-855-DEJELO-YA.

Here are some additional cessation resources:

GASO ad - Option 4 - 4.625 x 4.875 English

For more tobacco information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Office on Smoking and Health.  For more information about electronic cigarettes, visit DHEC’s e-cigarettes and vapes webpage.  You can quit for keeps. Start today.

Great American Smokeout: Commit To A Healthy, Smoke-free Life

Catherine Warner
Outreach Coordinator
Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control

Public health advocates will observe the 43rd annual Great American Smokeout (GASO) on Thursday, Nov. 15. GASO is an opportunity for everyone to commit to healthy, smoke-free lives — not just for a day — but year-round.

Quitting is difficult. It takes commitment and a plan; and it often takes more than one try.  This is why GASO shouldn’t necessarily be considered the day to quit smoking for good, but rather the day to start the journey toward a smoke-free life. Support from friends and family is helpful, as is getting advice from your healthcare provider.

Free support is also available from the certified quit coaches at the SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW). Personalized for each registered caller, the tips and support offered through the SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) can help smokers succeed when they are ready to quit. Most callers are eligible to receive free over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine gum, patch, or lozenge — regardless of insurance coverage.

GASO gives us all a great opportunity to promote tobacco-free lifestyles to co-workers, clients, friends, and family. It’s important to our work at DHEC because tobacco prevention touches on nearly every public health program area. From flu prevention to family planning, diabetes to heart disease and stroke, tobacco users are more likely to experience negative health consequences impacting nearly every organ in the body.  Lower rates of tobacco use can decrease incidence of respiratory infections, infertility, pre-term births and low birth weight babies, Type II diabetes, periodontal disease, many cancers, heart attacks, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and tobacco-related health disparities.

If you would like to encourage smokers to participate in GASO, materials from the American Cancer Society are also available on their website. Free posters, brochures, and other print items are also available through the DHEC Educational Materials Library. You can also call 898-2287 to place an order over the phone.  Getting the word out about GASO is not only a solid investment in public health, it could truly save the life of someone you love. Support, encourage, and promote smoke-free lives.  And if you smoke, call the SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) for free help. Para recibir ayuda de la línea estatal para dejar de fumar: 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569).

DHEC in the News: Food waste, smoking cessation, rabies

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Don’t Waste Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving don’t toss your leftovers. Food waste is the No. 1 item thrown away by Americans and DHEC leads an effort to cut down on food waste across South Carolina. If you’ve tired yourself out from creating new recipes with your Turkey Day leftovers, try feeding people instead of our landfills.

DHEC offering free resources to quit smoking

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control celebrated the Great American smokeout by reminding people of the resources it offers for those looking to quit smoking. The American Cancer Society sets aside the third Thursday in November to encourage tobacco users to quit.

Bat potentially exposes person to rabies in Spartanburg

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — Health officials say a person may have been exposed to rabies in Spartanburg earlier this month.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said a bat was found between Converse Heights and Beaumont Village in downtown Spartanburg on Nov. 7.

DHEC Helps South Carolinians Kick the Habit

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reminds smokers and tobacco users that the Great American Smokeout (GASO) on November 17 offers the perfect opportunity to take advantage of cessation resources available through the S.C. Tobacco Quitline.

Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, GASO encourages smokers to quit for 24 hours and to make a plan for quitting permanently. DHEC’s S.C. Tobacco Quitline, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, can help South Carolinians with one-on-one telephone coaching, web-based and text message support, assistance developing a personalized quit plan, and free nicotine replacement therapy to eligible callers.

“For a decade, DHEC’s statewide Quitline has provided free tobacco treatment and cessation counseling services to nearly 100,000 tobacco users in South Carolina,” said Sharon Biggers, director of DHEC’s Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control. “Our agency is committed to promoting and protecting the health of all South Carolinians by helping tobacco users quit, preventing tobacco use and reducing the exposure to secondhand smoke.”

S.C. residents get free help

All South Carolinians who call the Quitline are guaranteed at least one free session with a trained quit coach and receive a Quit Kit. Callers who are uninsured, underinsured, are on Medicare or Medicaid, or are under age 18 are eligible for up to five free sessions with a quit coach, and pregnant/postpartum tobacco users can get up to 10 free sessions.  Online enrollment and 24/7 hours of operation have been introduced this year to increase accessibility.

“Anytime is a good time to quit, but the Great American Smokeout is the perfect opportunity to turn over a new leaf,” said Biggers. “Call today and quit for keeps.”

Smokers seeking assistance can reach the S.C. Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), or for services in Spanish, call 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569).

 10 Years of Quitline Success:

  • 110,841 calls received
  • 37% had no health insurance
  • 21% had Medicaid
  • 32% remained tobacco-free after 7-months
  • 52% were tobacco users with a chronic condition, such as asthma, COPD, diabetes, coronary artery disease or cancer
  • 45% had a co-occurring mental health condition, like depression or anxiety, or a substance use disorder

For more information on the S.C. Tobacco Quitline, visit the DHEC website.

Quit Like a Champion – Great American Smokeout

By Sharon Biggers, director of DHEC’s Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control

Get ready to lose the habit, and become victorious over tobacco.

How does your body reocver after smokingThe S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reminds smokers and tobacco users that the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 19, is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of resources available through the S.C. Tobacco Quitline.

About 42 million Americans still smoke, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout  encourages smokers to quit that day or to make a plan for quitting.

The health benefits begin the moment you stop smoking.  Quitting at any age can give you back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.

Ready to Quit?

The S.C. Tobacco Quitline is a free counseling service that helps South Carolina smokers and tobacco users quit.  Whether you smoke cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or use smokeless tobacco products (dip or chew), the professionals at the S.C. Tobacco Quitline can help you deal with cravings, identify triggers, develop your quit plan, and connect you with local resources to help you quit. Services are free and are available from 8 a.m. to 3 a.m., seven days a week. Services include:

  • One-on-one coaching with phone or web-based counseling and support
  • Development of a personalized quit plan
  • Free nicotine patches, gum and lozenges for eligible South Carolinians

Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or click to call.Click to Call

For more information on the health benefits of staying away from tobacco and tips to quit, click here.