Tobacco use falls, but Cochise County has top rate in state

September 30, 2010

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SIERRA VISTA — Tobacco use in Arizona is on the decline.

Ranked as the seventh best state in the nation for the number of people who don’t use tobacco, only 16 percent of the state’s adult population are tobacco users, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey. That number represents a 19 percent drop from 2007.

“It’s the biggest drop of tobacco use of any state,” said Wayne Tormala, the bureau chief for Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease.

Unfortunately, those numbers aren’t quite as glowing for Cochise County.

Tormala was in the area this week to talk to county health officials and the media about a slightly different trend the CDC has identified in this area when it comes to tobacco statistics. Read the rest of this entry »

Number of smokers down in Yuma County

September 29, 2010

Yuma Sun
Stephanie A. Wilken – Sept. 24
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There’s a little less smoke in Yuma County — at least the kind produced from cigarettes. Yuma County’s tobacco prevalence — the percentage of people who smoke cigarettes — is half of the national average, according to national study.

According to a news release from Yuma County Friday, the tobacco prevalence in Yuma County is less than 10 percent.

The state of Arizona is at 16 percent and the nationwide average is about 20 percent.

And Wayne Tormala, bureau chief for the Arizona Department of Health Services, along with Laurie Thomas, who represents the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline, will be in Yuma Oct. 7 to congratulate Yuma County Health Program Manager Diana Gomez and the tobacco program staff for their work in the community.

”There’s no one answer as to why we have lower smoking rates in Arizona,” Tormala said. “And no singular reason Yuma County is lower than the rest of the state.

“We have a good anti-tobacco program in Arizona and there are many contributing factors we will discuss Oct. 7.”

In addition to the ceremony, a successful quitter from Yuma, who smoked for more than 40 years, will talk about his or her experience.

According to the release, more men smoke than women — but in Yuma County that’s not the case: Here, more women smoke than men.

In 2009, 55.2 percent of smokers in Arizona were men, with 44.1 percent of the smokers women. That means 44.8 percent of the smokers in Arizona are women and 55.9 percent of the smokers in Yuma County are women.

When asked “How many of the past 30 days did you smoke cigarettes?,” Yuma County residents answered 77.7 percent, while statewide, the response was 72.5 percent.

But it’s still good news for those who work toward helping people quit.

And more people in Yuma are seriously considering quitting smoking in the next six months than throughout Arizona.

That statistic comes from 70.6 percent of people surveyed in Yuma County saying they’re seriously considering quitting versus 63.7 percent of the people surveyed statewide.

More than 200 Yuma County residents utilized the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline last year.

“But since we know that there is a greater ‘readiness to quit’ in Yuma, we want to make sure people are aware of the ASHLine’s free services and how to access them,” according to the report.

If you’re interested in quitting, you can reach the Arizona hot line by visiting or call 1-800-55-66-222.

Stephanie A. Wilken can be reached at or 539-6857.

Calls to the ASHLine Up 50%

September 22, 2010

The Arizona Smokers Helpline or ASHLine has seen an increase in calls lately.

The call center, located in Tucson, fields about 240 calls a week, compared to 160 a week last year.

Their “quit-coaches” sign people up and then check back regularly to see progress. They say the population of smokers in Arizona is down to about 16%.

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ASHLine Director Stephen Michael says while they have their fair share of repeat customers, they are always there to get them back on track.

 “We know we’re making an impact. Do we make as much of an impact as raising the cost of cigarettes, probably not. But for the folks who call us, usually about 35 to 40 percent will stay quit for at least a year,” Michael said.

The helpline is completely confidential and free, funded through tobacco tax dollars. For more information, you can go to or call 1-800-55-66-222.


FDA Center for Tobacco Products to launch text messaging program

September 22, 2010

FDA Center for Tobacco Products to launch six-month text messaging pilot program

Next week, FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products will launch a six-month text messaging pilot program as part of its ongoing efforts to educate our stakeholders about federal regulations to protect kids from tobacco. To sign up, text BreakChain to 87000 from your mobile phone. Starting this week, subscribers will begin receiving messages. Subscribers will also have the opportunity to take quizzes for a chance to be recognized on!

We greatly appreciated your help spreading the word about the FDA’s resources in the past and hope that you will also help raise awareness about the opportunity to participate in the text messaging program.

For more information on the mobile text message program visit:

Additional resources on the tobacco regulations can be found at: Thank you for your continued support of the FDA’s education efforts. For questions about the new mobile program, please contact Jennifer Deets at (301) 348-1697 or

FDA gets tough on claims by makers of e-cigarettes

September 16, 2010

Stephen Michael, Director of the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline was interviewed and quoted in the following AZ Daily Star article which can be seen here

Companies that sell electronic cigarettes are taking heat for advertising claims that their products can help smokers kick the habit, and they may face stiff federal regulation.

The owner of a fast-growing Tucson-based company that sells its own brand of e-cigarettes, Green Nicotine, says he welcomes regulation to tone down the health claims he carefully avoids.

“Technically, because it doesn’t have FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approval, I can’t say it will help you quit smoking,” said Sean Schoepflin, founder and CEO of Green Nicotine.

“I think there needs to be some regulation of how it’s marketed, about how it’s labeled.” Read the rest of this entry »