4 Ways You Can Reduce Tobacco Use in Your Community

"Young lungs at play" sign

Tobacco use is a significant health issue in our community. According to the latest Community Needs Assessment report, approximately 20% of Lancaster County adults—or 81,085 people—smoke. As individuals, we can all take action to reduce tobacco use and build a healthier community. Read on to learn 4 fairly easy ideas you can consider today. 

Save Cold Turkey For The Day After Thanksgiving

If you are a smoker, don’t try to quit on your own, “cold-turkey,” without support. Studies show that medication increases the likelihood of successfully quitting tobacco by up to 70%. Consider using over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), including patches, lozenges, gum and inhalers, or talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for Chantix or Wellbutrin/Zyban.

Every state has a toll-free quitline. In Pennsylvania it is 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669). The PA Quitline provides resources, cessation counseling, and free NRT to any resident who calls.

The Tobacco Free Coalition of Lancaster County and Lancaster General Health offer group and individual sessions to help you quit tobacco for good. For information, call 717-544-4636.

Be A Supportive Resource

In a caring and supportive manner, consider addressing a family member, friend, neighbor, or coworker who uses tobacco. Ask if he or she would like your help quitting. But first, take the time to learn how nicotine affects tobacco users and how strong the addiction can be. Then discuss how you can help and support them to manage stress. Be sure to congratulate them for any small accomplishments they make.

Encourage Public Policy Change

Influence the big picture. Learn how you can contact your legislators to support policies that encourage smoke-free environments at multi-unit housing properties and parks. Policies like this improve air quality and reduce the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, creating a healthier environment for all. If you don’t see a Young Lungs at Play (YLAP) sign in your local park or are interested in learning more about tobacco-free policies, please contact Sue Lackmann at 717-544-3284.

Policy change is possible. The recent FDA ban of e-cigarette sales to minors is a perfect case in point. Although manufacturers marketed the battery-operated devices as a way for smokers to quit, opponents contended that because e-cigarettes contain nicotine, they actually encouraged people, especially teens, to develop the smoking habit.

Work With Your Schools...And Your Kids

Encourage your local schools to offer evidenced-based prevention programs that will help reduce the number youth who start using tobacco. And talk to your child about traditional cigarettes and trends with other tobacco products, such as cigars, little cigarettes, and electronic nicotine delivery devices, like e-cigarettes, hookahs, and vape pens. The Tobacco-Free Kids website is a great resource.

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Sue Lackmann, MEd

Sue Lackmann, MEd. is a health educator with Lancaster General Health Community Health and Wellness. Her responsibilities include school, workplace, and community prevention initiatives related to: child passenger safety, farm safety, healthy weight management, and tobacco. Lackmann is coordinator of Safe Kids Lancaster County, and actively involved in Lighten Up Lancaster County and the Tobacco Free Coalition of Lancaster County.

Call: 717-544-3283

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.

 

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