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.
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.
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:
- Smokefree espanol
- Smokefree teen
- Smokefree TXT
- Truth Initiative youth cessation
- quitSTART smartphone app
- Family support
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.