(Little Rock) – In celebration of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, Stamp Out Smoking is encouraging Arkansas tobacco users to quit by calling the Arkansas Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW. The World Health Organization (WHO) holds World No Tobacco Day every year to raise awareness of the harms of tobacco, the marketing tactics of the tobacco industry and resources available to help people quit.
For World No Tobacco Day 2014, the WHO and partners call on countries to raise taxes on tobacco. The WHO notes that research shows that higher taxes are especially effective in reducing tobacco use among lower-income groups and in preventing young people from starting to smoke.
“Arkansans benefit from increased excise taxes because they directly increase cigarette prices, which reduce cigarette use and smoking-related death and disease,” Dr. Gary Wheeler, medical director for the Arkansas Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program, said. “What remains troubling is the availability of low-priced and less regulated alternative tobacco products, such as cigars and flavored cigarillos, which have led some cigarette smokers to switch to these products. This switch to less regulated tobacco products diminishes the public health impact of excise tax increases and regulation, ultimately hampering efforts that not only prevent youth from starting to smoke, but also reduce overall tobacco use,” he added.
The World Health Organization states that unless we act now, the tobacco epidemic will kill more than 8 million people every year by 2030. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, approximately 5,100 deaths occur in Arkansas every year due to smoking. In addition, an estimated 200,000 kids now alive in Arkansas will become smokers if the tobacco usage rates don’t decrease. Stamp Out Smoking encourages individuals to participate in World No Tobacco Day in an effort to improve the health and life expectancy of Arkansans.
The Quitline offers free one-on-one phone counseling sessions with a trained Quit CoachÒ to help tobacco users break their dangerous habit. Quit Coaches work with the tobacco user to develop a customized plan to quit, select a quit date and determine whether nicotine replacement therapy medications are needed. Medications such as patches or lozenges can be provided free of charge for qualified callers.