Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States.
In 1990, the Surgeon General issued a report on The Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation calling for the need to provide quit-smoking resources to millions of U.S. smokers. The new 2020 report upholds the same critical message and includes all the latest key findings on the health and economic benefits of cessation. Other information includes genetic factors that affect smoking behaviors as well as the various clinical and population-based interventions that are scientifically shown to increase smoking cessation
The report advised smokers to use a variety of cessation methods that now include group counseling, phone quit, web-based interventions, and text messaging. In fact, combining counseling and medications can more than double the chances of successfully quitting. Healthcare professionals can be a valuable resource for their patients by offering support and guidance to help patients create their quit plan.
The rates of cigarette smoking still remain high among certain populations. The report urged healthcare professionals to reach out to LGBTQ adults, Native Americans, people with mental conditions and substance use disorders, and individuals of low socioeconomic status for smoking cessation services.
Here are some key findings from the report:
- Quitting smoking is beneficial at any age.
- Smoking cessation reduces the risk of premature death and can add as much as a decade to life expectancy.
- Smoking places a financial burden on smokers, healthcare systems, and society that cessation can reduce. Annual health care spending related to smoking exceeds $170 billion.
- Smoking cessation reduces the risk of negative health effects like cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), various cancers, and reproductive health outcomes.
- Cessation medications (FDA approved) in combination with behavioral counseling are cost effective and increase the probability of quitting tobacco.
- There is inadequate evidence to conclude that e-cigarettes, in general, increase smoking cessation.
- Smoking cessation can be increased by implementing statewide tobacco control programs, carrying out mass media campaigns, incorporating smoke-free policies, and raising the price of cigarettes.
While cigarette smoking is at its lowest among American adults (14%), an estimated 34 million American adults still smoke. Fortunately, the new Surgeon General’s report provides extensive knowledge on the many ways Americans can work together to eliminate tobacco-related disease and death. Thanks to the report, physicians and public health professionals have the knowledge needed to increase their successes of smoking cessation among smokers by providing them access to barrier-free, evidence-based support.
So, calling all healthcare/public health professionals and individuals seeking to quit, check out the link below to read the 2020 report!
The Tobacco Free Florida AHEC Cessation Program offers free support and nicotine replacement therapy which can double the chances of quitting for good. For more information about our upcoming groups or how to refer your patients, please call 386-462-1551 or visit www.srahec.org
| Jessica is an intern at Suwannee River AHEC. She is currently a senior completing her major in Microbiology and minor in Health Disparities in Society.