Great American Smokeout Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 10, 2010
Contact: Laurie Thomas, 480-540-6050 or Laurie.Thomas@azdhs.gov

Quit for a Day – Quit for Good!
Help is Available to Make Great American Smokeout®
Your Day to Quit Tobacco

PHOENIX – Arizona has one of the lowest rates of smokers in the country at just 16% of the population smoking compared to about 21% nationally. “Our numbers are good,” says Wayne Tormala Bureau Chief for Tobacco and Chronic Disease at the Arizona Department of Health Services. “But we also know all the ‘low hanging fruit’ is gone and the remaining smokers in Arizona are all hard to reach.” Which makes easy-to access “quit tips” and “health improvements from quitting”, found at www.ashline.org,  extremely valuable to smokers.

“Many factors impact the success of Arizona’s tobacco control efforts including the high taxes on cigarettes, a tough indoor air policy and one of the most successful quitlines in the nation at the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline (ASHLine),” Tormala said.  Arizona’s tax on cigarettes is more than $2 per pack and Smokefree Arizona which voters passed in 2006 makes smoking in most public places off limits. The ASHLine boasts a 37% quit rate for its clients – compared to other quitlines nationally which have quit rates of 19-29%.

 Every year the American Cancer Society sponsors The Great American Smokeout® to encourage tobacco users to quit for the day. This year The Great American Smokeout is Thursday, Nov. 18.  The annual event challenges smokers to start the quit process by joining thousands of other Americans in quitting for the day.

“We can help turn quitting for a day into quitting for good,” says Stephen Michael, Director of the ASHLine. “We can help people make it their final quit!  While some people are successful ‘going cold turkey’ the majority of people stay quit when they have a support system in place like ASHLine.”  

The Arizona Smokers’ Helpline offers free telephone quit coaching at 1-800-55-66-222 (English and Spanish) and free online quit coaching services via WebQuit ™ at http://www.ASHLine.org 

“ASHLine’s approach with every tobacco user is very empathetic,” Michael says. “Many of our coaches have quit themselves. We know how hard it is to quit smoking. We know people have tried before… our goal is to help them really quit. And quit again. And again if necessary.  It is important that they never quit quitting!”

“Call the ASHLine — make a plan to quit,” Tormala adds. “Become part of Arizona’s tobacco success story – and more importantly be your own quit success story!”

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*** Attached and also available at www.ASHLine.org are additional materials for media including quit tips and information about health improvements when quitting tobacco. 

 

About Arizona Smokers’ Helpline
Funded by the state tax on tobacco products through the Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease at the Arizona Department of Health Services, the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline and ASHLine.org have been helping people quit tobacco since 1995. Free telephone and Web-based quit services are provided as well as free training and technical assistance to healthcare providers statewide. For information about quit smoking services around the state, call 1-800-55-66-222 or visit www.ASHLine.org 

About Wayne Tormala
Dedicating his entire career to human service, Wayne has provided leadership at the local, national and global levels in programs addressing issues of public health, mental illness, the environment, world hunger, poverty, and economic justice. Currently, he is the Bureau Chief for the Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease at the Arizona Department of Health Services where he oversees all aspects of tobacco prevention/cessation programming and the prevention/management of chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, lung disease, stroke, asthma and diabetes.

About Stephen Michael
Stephen S. Michael, MS, Director of the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline (ASHLine) at the University of Arizona Zuckerman College of Public Health. Mr. Michael holds a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, with a focus in substance abuse and has over 20 years of experience in behavioral health settings. He is recognized nationally as an authority on tobacco quitlines.

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