The Arizona Speaker of the House and President of the Senate approved four new appointments to the TRUST Commission, our statewide advisory group on the use, spending, and tracking of tobacco tax funds used for tobacco and chronic disease programming. The four new members, each of whom bring tremendous added value to work, are:
Scott Leischow, PhD., is internationally known for his research and training regarding nicotine addiction and cessation practice, is in the process of moving from his position at the University of Arizona as Professor in the Colleges of Medicine & Public Health, and Associate Director at the Arizona Cancer Center, to serve in a research capacity at the Mayo Clinic & Hospitals. Scott has been a long-time friend and advisor to our work, and brings considerable knowledge and perspective to our work.
Kelly Grose, Senior Vice President of the American Heart Association, brings a strong background of evidence-based programming and public policy development to our work in both tobacco control and chronic disease. With heart disease still being the #1 cause of death, it is imperative that we ensure a strong sense of knowledge and leadership in this arena.
Edmundo Hidalgo, President and CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc., brings high level leadership and knowledge regarding the economic and health concerns of Latinos/Latinas, both here in Arizona and along all borderlands. This fills a critical gap in our efforts to navigate the social and political climates affecting the highest growing population in Arizona. Edmundo is a long-time friend who is well-known for his abilities to translate “big picture” issues into localized, manageable efforts.
Sharlene Bozack, Chief Government Relations Officer of the American Cancer Society (Cancer Action Network), Great West Division, is another long-time supporter of public health concerns in Arizona, and has been instrumental in several policy developments improving the health of Arizonans who use tobacco.
The Empower Pack kicked off its statewide tour at Desert Mesa Elementary School Wednesday afternoon with a live interactive performance for the students. The acting troupe from the Phoenix Theater has collaborated with the Arizona Department of Health Services, the Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease and the Bureau of Nutrition and Physical Activity to empower the youths of today to make good decisions regarding nutrition, physical activity and avoiding tobacco. The Empower Pack will continue to spread its message to children ages 8-11 as it visits various schools throughout the state.
by Taylor Summers/KTAR
PHOENIX — One of the more popular New Year’s resolutions every year comes from smokers hoping to kick the habit.
The Maricopa County Health Department wants to help make that easier. To do so, the department is working with the quit smoking hotline, Ashline.
“Most of [Ashline’s] coaches are ex-smokers,” Wayne Tormala, chief of the Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease, said. “They offer a lot of tailored coaching.”
What smokers might not know is if they are using the state Medicaid program, AHCCCS, they can actually get 12 free weeks of nicotine gum, patches, or medications. The hope is that the money used from AHCCCS for this will be an investment to prevent a larger cost burden in the future.
“The cost burden of smokers in Arizona has been estimated by the Department of Health and Human Services to be over $3 billion a year,” Tormala said. “When someone spends about $6-8 bucks on cigarettes, it’s costing the state about $40.”
Tormala says the combination of those nicotine medications and support from Ashline can churn out a 50 percent success rate when helping smokers quit, a far cry from the three percent found in those who quit cold turkey.
To speak with Ashline, call 1-800-55-66-222.