Monday, December 2, 2013

Quitting Tobacco in 2014

New Year’s Day represents the fresh start that we anticipate each year, and Jefferson County Public Health is encouraging people who use tobacco to set a quit date by January 1, 2014. Setting a quit date is a great first step towards regaining your freedom from tobacco. According to the American Cancer Society, people who plan their quit day in advance DOUBLE the odds of staying tobacco-free for life.

Tobacco use remains the single most preventable cause of death in the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke exposure to cause 443,000 deaths each year in the United States – that’s 1 in 5 Americans. It is NEVER too late to quit – your body begins to heal after only 20 minutes of smoking your last cigarette. Quitting is hard, but with the right tools, resources and support, you can do it!

Colorado offers numerous resources to help you quit smoking or quit using other tobacco products. Consider some of these free resources to help you in your journey to quit:
  • For telephone support, coaching and resources to help you or a loved one become tobacco-free, call the Colorado Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). The QuitLine also has a web-based support, This free service provides information and tools to tailor your own personal plan for quitting.
  • The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment launched, an online web hub that connects visitors to a variety of resources and topics including cessation services and information on preventing secondhand smoke exposure and youth tobacco use.
  • COQuitMobile is a free text-based program that places you on the path to a life free from tobacco.
  • You may also visit the Ready to Quit Page on the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Website for a list of additional resources to help you quit.
  • Tips From Former Smokers is a powerful CDC national campaign that encourages people to quit smoking by highlighting the toll that smoking-related illnesses take on smokers and their loved ones.
  • View this American Lung Association Fact Sheet about what resources are covered under the new guidelines of the Affordable Care Act.

Jeffco Celebrates 40th Annual Great American Smokeout

November 21, 2013, marked the American Cancer Society’s 40th Annual Great American Smokeout (GASO). GASO is an annual event which encourages tobacco users to take the first step towards quitting tobacco products for the day or for life. The Jefferson County Tobacco Prevention Initiative hosted events at Red Rocks Community College and Lakewood High School to educate and encourage students to take on the tobacco-free challenge.

Students at Lakewood High School gather around an information
booth to learn about how tobacco affects the body
The event at Red Rocks Community College actively engaged participants with a video on the Journey of Quitting tobacco, a presentation with the latest on e-cigarettes, fact finding games, and several educational displays. Education focused on the harmful toll tobacco takes on our communities and our environment. Students learned that on the Red Rocks campus alone, more than three tons of environmentally toxic tobacco litter is generated each year, which is equivalent to the weight of a hippopotamus. They also learned practical facts about the true costs of tobacco use. For example, a pack-a-day smoker spends about $1,894.00 per year, which is more than some college students will spend on their tuition for the Spring semester.

The GASO information booth at Lakewood High School educated students about the health effects of tobacco on the body, resources and strategies to quit tobacco and information on how the tobacco industry uses marketing tactics directed specifically toward youth. Visual aids, including a set of pig lungs that mimic the damage 20 years of smoking can have on a human lung, made a lasting impression on students. Students who currently smoke were encouraged to take a test to measure carbon monoxide levels in their lungs as the result of tobacco smoke exposure while also being educated on how their body starts the process of recovery and healing shortly after becoming tobacco-free. The Tobacco Prevention Initiative also engaged students with a tobacco jeopardy game involving questions about the tobacco industry and incorporating education on marketing tactics such as low prices and flavors intended to entice young people.

According to the US Surgeon General, more than 1,200 people die prematurely from tobacco use in the United States and, for every eight who die from smoking, at least one person dies from secondhand smoke exposure. GASO is one of many opportunities to raise awareness about the quitting process and the benefits of tobacco-free living. For more information about the Jefferson County Tobacco Prevention partnership with Red Rocks Community College, contact Jamie Fanselow at or 303-239-7022. To learn more about youth tobacco prevention efforts in Jefferson County contact Christie Preston at or 303-275-7565. Click here to learn more about the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. To help yourself or others with preventing and quitting tobacco use, please see the “Quitting Tobacco in 2014” article in this edition of the Tobacco Prevention Tribune.

What’s in Store for Our Kids?

Kids in Jefferson County can walk into many stores that sell tobacco and find a variety of inexpensive, candy-flavored tobacco products within easy reach. And that's no accident. In area stores, strawberry, peach and other sweet-flavored little cigars are being sold for a dollar or two in addition to novel products such as nicotine-delivering hookah pens and electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes. The impact these flavored and novel products are having on kids is already evident.

According to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, more than 40 percent of middle and high school students who smoke report using either flavored little cigars or flavored cigarettes. Over the course of the past month, the percentage of high school boys who smoked flavored cigars jumped to 17 percent, now matching the percentage of teens that smoke cigarettes. Also increasing among teens is the use of e-cigarettes and hookah. CDC data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey shows that during the past 30 days, e-cigarette usage increased 86 percent among high school students and 83 percent among middle school students while the use of hookah increased by 30 percent.

In a public information education campaign entitled “What’s in Store for Our Kids,” Jefferson County Public Health and the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance, are educating residents about how the tobacco industry is targeting kids in Jefferson County through advertising, retail-level promotions, low pricing and the use of flavors and additives intended to hook our kids. “It’s alarming to see grape, strawberry, peach, and other sweet-flavored addictive and deadly tobacco products available for prices similar to candy,” said Sarah Davis, parent and member of the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance.

The Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance hopes community members will be concerned by the expanding menu of candy-flavored, cheap tobacco products in stores and encourages youth and adults to get involved in local tobacco prevention efforts to counter the tobacco industry’s powerful marketing tactics. For more information about the “What’s in Store for Our Kids” campaign or the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance visit or contact Donna Viverette at 303-275-7555 or

I am a Smoke-Free Zone Media Campaign Success

This past fall, Jefferson County collaborated with other local public health agencies to launch the “I Am A Smoke-Free Zone” campaign in effort to protect children from secondhand smoke exposure. Campaign messages have appeared on English and Spanish television, radio, internet, event sponsorship, outdoor advertisements, and in convenience stores and local establishments to alert everyone about the need to protect children from the dangerous chemicals in secondhand smoke.

The “I Am A Smoke Free Zone” message sheds light on the four common myths about secondhand smoke:
  1. The myth that blowing your smoke out a window or door prevents secondhand smoke exposure,
  2. The myth that ventilation in a home or car is a good strategy,
  3. The myth that room deodorizers can minimize risk, and
  4. The myth that if it’s not enough to smoke in another room, open windows, and get rid of the odor, then the only other option is to quit.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year secondhand smoke exposure is responsible for an estimated 150,000–300,000 new cases of bronchitis and pneumonia and approximately 7,500–15,000 hospitalizations among children aged 18 months or younger in the United States. “We know secondhand smoke is harmful to everyone and that children are often the innocent bystanders. This campaign reminds people to protect kids by not smoking around them and helping them to avoid others’ tobacco smoke as well,” said Donna Viverette, JCPH Tobacco Prevention Initiative Supervisor.

“The truth is, there is no risk-free amount of secondhand smoke exposure, even outdoors. The only way to fully protect children is making cars and homes 100% smoke-free and not ever smoking around children,” said Viverette. Please contact us if you have any questions about secondhand smoke or the “I Am A Smoke-Free Zone” campaign and visit or for more information. Working together, we can help make all children (and adults!) "Smoke-Free Zones."

Evicting Secondhand Smoke

Everyone has the right to breathe toxin-free air. However, for those who are living in apartment complexes, condos, or other types of shared residential buildings, smoke from a neighbor can seep into their homes and lungs. Did you know that up to 65% of the air in multi-unit complexes is circulated between units? The 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey of Colorado residents found that more than half of all residents living in multi-unit housing complexes report that smoke from neighboring units and common areas seeps into their living spaces. This exposure contributes to both acute and chronic health problems including asthma, emphysema and increased risk of certain cancers for residents. has resources to help you keep your home free of secondhand smoke, including information about how to find smoke-free multi-unit housing through According to the American Lung Association, secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, 250 of which are poisonous, and roughly 70 or which are known to cause cancer. Keeping these toxins out of your home can provide major positive health impacts for you and your family.

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