The North Carolina Alliance for Health, QuitLineNC and more than 50 other statewide patient and physician groups, health care systems, local health leaders and nonprofits today launched “Race to Quit, NC.”
The new campaign – which is centered around awareness statewide events being held the week of Oct. 5 – is dedicated to connecting tobacco users with the tools and resources they need to quit.
“Right now, North Carolina is losing the race to quit, but together, we can change that,” said Pam Seamans, executive director of the North Carolina Alliance for Health. “Tobacco use in North Carolina is well above the national average. One in five adults in our state is a smoker, 13 percent of high schoolers smoke, and every year, the habit kills more than 14,000 North Carolinians. The reality is that many tobacco users want to quit, but simply don’t know what support is available or how to access it.”
Research shows that the vast majority of smokers have tried to quit, yet just 7 percent are able to successfully quit without medicines or other help. The goal of Race to Quit is to fill that gap and connect smokers with the tools they need to cross the finish line to a smoke-free life. We are empowering tobacco users to call QuitLineNC and talk to their doctors about quitting, empowering physicians to ask the right questions and connect patients with treatment, and empowering the community with the message that there is help for loved ones who want to quit.
Throughout this week, Race to Quit partners will be using the hashtag #WhyNCQuits to share quit-smoking photos and videos on Twitter, and we invite former tobacco users and loved ones to join us. Use this hashtag (#WhyNCQuits) to share tweets, photos and/or videos about why you or a loved one decided to quit. You can also follow and engage with Race to Quit, NC on social media using the hashtag #RacetoQuitNC. Race to Quit, NC Partners will hold the following events. (Click each link for location and registration details):
- Race to Quit, NC Kickoff Press Conference – Featuring leaders from the NC Department of Health & Human Services & Duke Center for Smoking Cessation (Tuesday, Oct. 6, at the American Heart Association in Morrisville).
- Healthy Together North Carolina Summit – Collaborative effort by Prevention Partners, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the North Carolina Hospital Association, and the Center for Healthy North Carolina (Tuesday, Oct. 6, at the Harvey Estes Conference Center in Durham).
- American Academy of Pediatrics, Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence, Visiting Lectureship Program – Featuring nationally known pediatrician and tobacco control advocate, Dr. Jonathan Winickoff (Wednesday, Oct. 7, at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte).
- North Carolina Population Health Summit – Presented by Million Hearts, North Carolina Public Health, QuitlineNC, and Alliant Quality (Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh).
- Freedom from Smoking Clinic – Ongoing programs with step-by-step plan to help smokers quit (Timing is ongoing – call Forsyth County Department of Public Health for time & location).
- Mecklenburg County Employee Fest 2015 – Wellness event for all Mecklenburg County employees (Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015 at Freedom Park in Charlotte).
- A Century of Cigarettes Exhibit – Exhibit providing a glimpse of the forces that influenced the sale of cigarettes and the resulting epidemic of lung cancer (October 5-9 at Lenoir Rhyne University in Hickory).
- NC Society for Public Health Education 50th Annual Meeting – Health educators will be empowered to help North Carolinians win their race to quit (October 8-9, Crowne Plaza Hotel in Hickory).
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force last month recommended that Americans have access to a comprehensive quit-smoking benefit – all seven FDA-approved medications and all three forms of counseling. This recommendation is a huge step forward in the race to quit because the Affordable Care Act requires all preventive services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to be covered at no cost through most health insurance plans. For a list of Race to Quit, NC partners and their quit-smoking resources, visit: http://www.ncallianceforhealth.org/race-to-quit-nc/.