COLUMBUS – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, joined by Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, MD, MPH, and OhioHealth Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA, recently offered resources to those looking to quit using tobacco products in the new year.
“As Ohioans make their new year’s resolutions, they can’t go wrong with a commitment to quitting smoking or vaping,” said Governor DeWine. “There are state resources available for those looking to quit, including a program specifically for teens. Individuals can also contact their healthcare provider for help. The evidence is clear, quitting could save your life.”
The Ohio Tobacco Quit Line provides personal quit coaching and telephone counseling free of charge to all adult Ohioans. Just call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. For Ohioans under 18, call or text My Life, My Quit at 1-855-891-9989. This free program combines best practices and new ways for teens to reach a coach using live text messages or online chat.
As a part of the biennium budget, Governor DeWine signed into law a provision to increase the legal minimum age to give, sell, or distribute tobacco and other nicotine products from 18 to 21. Strengthening tobacco laws has been one of Governor DeWine’s top priorities. As a U.S. Senator, he wrote legislation that led to the banning of flavored cigarettes in 2009. As Ohio Attorney General, he led a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2013 to regulate the advertising of vaping products.
In young people, nicotine can interfere with brain development, which can continue until about age 25. The amount of nicotine in certain vape liquids can be as much as an entire pack of cigarettes. Youth are more susceptible to becoming dependent on nicotine and it can create powerful addiction pathways. To help relay the message about the dangers of vaping, the Ohio Department of Health has teamed up with the Truth Initiative to run a new marketing campaign that will target parents and teens across the state.
“Make no mistake, these companies have intentionally targeted the next generation for addiction,” said Dr. Acton. “This campaign fights back using the same social media tactics. E-cigarettes are a public health crisis and we have the tools to help Ohioans quit now.”
“At OhioHealth, we see first-hand how vaping and tobacco use present real dangers to the health of our community and create far too many emergency visits,” said Dr. Vanderhoff. “We commend the efforts of Governor DeWine, Dr. Acton and the Ohio Department of Health to educate the community about these dangers and provide additional resources to help individuals address their addiction.”
Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths across the U.S. An estimated 21% of adults in Ohio are smokers and about 7,000 Ohioans die from lung cancer each year. Communities and health providers across the state can play an important role in helping people lower their risk of lung cancer by providing resources to their residents and patients. Lives can be saved by reducing minors’ access to tobacco, helping people avoid secondhand smoke, and encouraging those at high risk for lung cancer to get screened early.
For more information on Ohio’s tobacco cessation programs visit https://odh.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odh/know-our-programs/tobacco-use-prevention-and-cessation.