Let’s Do Whatever It Takes To Get People to Quit Smoking

USA Today recently reported a study that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-02-11-pay-quit-smoking_N.htm) that financial incentives helped people quit smoking. Smokers were increasingly rewarded for completing a smoking cessation program, being smoke-free after 6 months, and smoke-free after 1 year. There have been countless programs which show the benefit of smoking cessation programs whether you use the carrot or stick approach. The important thing is to get people to stop smoking, because it benefits all of society.

Four hundred eighty thousand deaths a year are attributable to cigarette smoking, including 30,000 to 60,000 people who die from heart disease brought on by secondhand smoke! For a comparison, 20,000 to 30,000 deaths are attributable to being uninsured. If loss of life doesn’t get to you, smokers cost the economy $95 billion in lost productivity and $97 billion for public and private healthcare; this translates into every American household spending $630 a year on state and federal taxes due to smoking. Incredibly, we still  have communities in this country that allow smoking in public places!

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a non-profit group of professionals who make recommendations on preventive screening measures, strongly recommends that clinicians screen all adults for tobacco use and provide tobacco cessation interventions for those who use tobacco products. Let your congressmen know that you want stronger anti-smoking measures and restrictions placed on tobacco companies who advertise their poisons to children!

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