Community News November 18, 2020

Partners for a Healthier Ross County Celebrate 45th Annual Great American Smokeout

BreatheWell Ross and the Partners for a Healthier Ross County, join the American Cancer Society in promoting the 45th Great American Smokeout, an annual event the third Thursday in November each year, to encourage smokers to make a plan to quit smoking. 

In both their 2016 and 2019 community health needs assessments conducted by Partners for a Healthier Ross County, smoking was linked to three of the top five leading causes of death in the community, including heart disease, lung cancer and other respiratory issues like COPD. 

“Not only is smoking and other tobacco use contributing to early death of Ross County citizens, but it also is occurring at higher rates than in other parts of the state and country,” said Kim Jones of Adena Health System and co-chair of Partners for a Healthier Ross County. The 2019 assessment survey determined that more than 25% of Ross County citizens use tobacco, which is almost 10% higher than the rest of the nation. These statistics enabled the Ross County Health District to obtain a grant from the Ohio Department of Health in 2018, and coordinate BreatheWell Ross, a sub-committee of Partners for a Healthier Ross County that educates the community on the dangers of smoking and vaping, as well as promotes the options smokers have locally to help them quit. 

Kim Hardesty, coordinator of BreatheWell said, “There are accessible options for cessation such as the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line. By dialing 1-800-QUIT-NOW, you get telephonic support, access to free nicotine replacement therapy, and a cessation counselor to help you develop your plan to quit and follow up.” Other options within the community include the Adena Quit Clinic, which provides in-person counseling and support, or talking to your primary care provider.

Although smoking continues to be the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States, Hardesty noted that smokers can and do quit smoking, and we can continue to see more former smokers than current smokers if the community works together to encourage cessation and provide the support needed to quit. 

For more information on smoking and vaping cessation, contact Kim Hardesty at the Ross County Health District, at 740-779-9652 or khardesty@rosscountyhealth.org.