Tag Archives: tobacco

DHEC in the News: Opioids, smoking, flu

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

Florence VA addresses opioid issues among veterans

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The Pee Dee Area Veterans Advisory Council held a forum on the opioid epidemic Tuesday morning.

Veterans, caregivers and others gathered at the Florence County Veterans Affairs building to learn more about the dangers of opioid and possible alternatives.

Smoking cost runs high in South Carolina

To encourage the estimated 36.5 million tobacco users in the U.S. to kick the dangerous habit, the personal finance website WalletHub calculated the potential monetary losses — including the lifetime and annual costs of a cigarette pack per day, health care expenditures, income losses and other costs — brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. The news for South Carolina smokers is not good.

General Interest

School closes for remainder of week due to flu outbreak

CLARENDON COUNTY, SC (WIS) – A school in Clarendon County will close its doors for a week after a number of students and staff members contracted the flu.

Officials say Clarendon Hall will be closed from January 24-26 after several people within the school tested positive for the influenza virus.

Strive for a safer, healthier life in 2017

In 2017, be purposeful about changing habits, taking precautions and instituting preventive measures aimed at improving your health and quality of life. Making the right decisions could make 2017 your healthiest yet.

A few tips to consider

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you:

  • Be smokefree. If you are ready to quit, call 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). Read this blog post to learn more. For more information on the S.C. Tobacco Quitline, visit the DHEC website.
  • Protect yourself from injury or disease by wearing a helmet when biking, using sunscreen when outdoors and insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquito-borne illnesses.
  • Make an appointment for a check-up, vaccination or screening. Regular health exams and tests can help find problems early or even before they start.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water to prevent the spread of infection and illness.
  • Make healthy food choices. A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts, and is low in saturated fats, transfats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.
  • Be active to improve overall health. Exercise. Also, try simple things such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Get enough sleep. Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.

More information is available

For more assistance in making 2017 your healthiest year yet, visit the CDC website.

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.

World No Tobacco Day: A good time to call it quits

By Catherine Warner, MSW
Outreach Coordinator
Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control

Each year on May 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) observes World No Tobacco Day.  The campaign encourages a 24-hour period of abstinence from all tobacco products worldwide.  If you use tobacco and haven’t been able to quit yet, today is the perfect day to try again and take part in the global effort to end the tobacco epidemic. You can call the S.C. Tobacco Quitline for free help.

Participating countries across the globe are working toward implementing policies that reduce the use and harm of tobacco products.  Problems vary by country, as does the type of tobacco product used.

Efforts to fight the global epidemic of tobacco include the work we do here at home. In South Carolina, we have a 31 percent quit rate among former smokers, which means that 14,655 tobacco users in South Carolina have quit successfully; this translates into savings of $41.3 million in tobacco-related direct health care costs.  The DHEC-managed S.C. Tobacco Quitline has served more than 100,000 people to date, with 95 percent of callers requesting help in quitting smoking.  Sixty-two out of 81 school districts in South Carolina have adopted 100 percent comprehensive tobacco-free policies.  And most recently, DHEC became tobacco-free at all sites statewide on March 1, 2016, through the A Healthier State tobacco-free campus initiative.

Public Health workers at the Department of Health and Environmental Control spend a lot of time educating people about tobacco use.

We go into communities and work with partners—telling them what we know about tobacco.  We know that smoking-related cancers have claimed the lives of nearly 60,000 South Carolinians since 2005.  We tell people that smokeless tobacco is directly linked to several cancers, including mouth, tongue and pancreatic cancer.  We tell people that exposure to secondhand smoke doubles the risk of heart attack among non-smokers.  We provide people with resources to quit and protect children and other vulnerable populations from tobacco and secondhand smoke.

What we often neglect to tell people is how this fits into the global picture.  Tobacco use has shifted to the developing world, causing more death and disease in countries where access to health care, cessation resources and tobacco regulation are lacking.  Nearly two-thirds of the world’s smokers live in 10 countries:  (in order from most smokers to least) China, India, Indonesia, Russian Federation, United States, Japan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Germany and Turkey.

be a quitterToday, tobacco use causes 1 in 10 deaths among adults worldwide, which is more than 5 million people a year.  Unless things change, tobacco’s annual death toll will rise to more than 8 million people by the year 2030.

The WHO projects that more than 80 percent of the world’s tobacco-related deaths will be in low- and middle-income countries by 2030.  Something to consider this World No Tobacco Day is that tobacco use increases poverty—money spent on tobacco means less money spent on necessities such as food, shelter, education and health care.  The poorest 20 percent of households in Mexico spend nearly 11 percent of their household income on tobacco.  Medical costs from smoking impoverish more than 50 million people in China.

With all the progress we have made in South Carolina and with nationwide tobacco control efforts, it is easy to forget how tobacco affects people worldwide.  We are fortunate to have information and resources to help people quit, and we can all help create a healthier tomorrow by quitting tobacco use today.

For more information and free resources to help you or someone you know quit tobacco, visit www.scdhec.gov/Health/TobaccoCessation/.

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.