This guest post is written by Amy Santo
As the American Cancer Society says, “Everyone loves a quitter” and this Thursday is your chance to be one. Thursday marks the American Cancer Society’s 37th annual Great American Smokeout, a day designed to encourage smokers to quit. And, unfortunately, it’s still needed. Currently, there are over 43 million people in the United States who smoke.
In Connecticut, there are over 400,000 adult smokers, the greatest percentage of which are Hispanics (25.7%), followed by whites (14.8%) and blacks (13.1%). However, greater differences can be seen when you look at education and socioeconomic status.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health found that over 25% of adults who have a high school diploma or less smoke compared to only 5.5% of those with a college degree. There is a similar correlation with income. Smoking rates for those who make $40,000 or less per year are three times higher than those who make $100,000 per year or more.
The same trends are seen nationally. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking rates are highest among US working adults who have less than a high school education (28.4%), have no health insurance (28.6%) and live below the federal poverty level (27.7%).
Our mission at Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center, in part, is to eliminate health disparities and improve the health status of our communities at large. That is why we are hosting a special event for the Great American Smokeout this Thursday, November 15th on 428 Columbus Avenue in New Haven, from 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
We are asking the people in the communities we serve, as well as our employees, to join us in kicking butts. Our Department of Health Promotion staff will be on hand at our main care site and people can stop by, turn in their cigarettes and in exchange they will receive a survival kit to help them get through the day as well as resources they need to quit for good.
That is ultimately our goal—to help those in the communities we serve quit smoking for good, resulting in improved health outcomes and reduced medical costs. To do this we need to educate the community about the resources we have for smoking cessation including counseling, coverage of prescriptions by Husky/Medicaid and the CT Quit Line.
This Thursday is one day where will be making a concerted effort to do this, but in reality we do this every day in our work, hoping to make a difference one person at a time.
Photo credits: (Top Center) American Cancer Society (Bottom Left) CSH Health Center
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