CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Work Highlights Smoking Cessation

January 9, 2015

MMWR News Synopsis for December 18, 2014


Smoking Cessation Among Users of Telephone and Web-Based Interventions — Four States, 2011–2012


Tobacco cessation services are available for free in every state. Smokers who use these services better their odds of successfully quitting smoking. Smoking causes 480,000 deaths a year in the United States. All states offer access to telephone or web based tobacco cessation services, and these services are freely available to people who want to quit smoking. Using these services, and in particular, using both services in combination, increases the chances of quitting successfully. States can help a greater number of people quit smoking by offering both telephone and web-based tobacco cessation services instead of offering only one.


Tetrodotoxin Poisoning Outbreak from Imported Dried Puffer Fish — Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2014

Health care providers who work in emergency departments or with persons from countries with a tradition of puffer fish consumption should be aware of the potential public health threat of puffer fish poisoning and should coordinate with their local poison centers and health departments to investigate any suspected cases. Puffer fish is a highly regulated product in the U.S. due to its potential toxicity yet is a delicacy in many cultures. Health care providers who work in emergency departments or with persons from countries with a tradition of puffer fish consumption should be aware of this potential public health threat and coordinate with their local poison centers and health departments to investigate any suspected cases of puffer fish poisoning to determine the source of the fish, whether it was legally imported, and whether additional contaminated product needs to be removed from commerce.


Perceptions of the Risk for Ebola and Health Facility Use Among Pregnant and Lactating Women and Community Health Workers — Kenema District, Sierra Leone, September 2014


During a complex humanitarian crisis such as the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, it is critical to consider the impact of the crisis on the delivery of routine health services and on health care seeking among vulnerable populations. Fear and misconceptions of Ebola were found to contribute to decreased health facility use in focus group discussions with health workers and pregnant and lactating women in Kenema District, Sierra Leone. In a country with the highest ratio of maternal deaths and fourth highest rate of newborn deaths in the world, use of routine maternal and newborn health care is essential to reduce the risk of adverse health outcomes. Infection prevention and control trainings were found to reduce fear among health care workers and may be an important strategy to increase women’s confidence in health facility safety. This information is being used to create messaging to encourage use of maternal and newborn health care services across Sierra Leone.


Notes from the Field:


Aseptic Meningitis Outbreak Associated with Echovirus 30 Among High School Football Players — Los Angeles County, California, 2014



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Ironwood HS STAND Gets featured in Peoria Pulse

January 7, 2015


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ASHLine moves literally to help more clients.

December 11, 2014

Dec 10, 2014
By Carissa Planal, Tucson News Now

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) –
A statewide smokers’ hotline is moving its operations in hopes of helping more clients to kick the habit. This week the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline, or ASHLine, moved into the Pima County Health Department building off Ajo Way.

About 20-percent of adults smoke, a statistic that has leveled off through the years. Dr. Cynthia Thomson, a University of Arizona Public Health professor overseeing the helpline, says she hopes to reach out to new clients at the new location.

Thomson says people who visit the clinic are the people who would benefit from quitting smoking, including mothers involved in the Women, Infants, and Children program, and sick people visiting the downstairs clinic.

The new location is also a hub for health researchers to collaborate.

“It brings together researchers in wellness at the Cancer Center and the College of Public Health,,and Llife Sciences. Health care providers, helping them to be engaged in the quit process,” says Thomson.

Thomson says workers at the helpline are coordinating with health officials to offer referrals to patients who could use help putting down the smokes for good, but anyone can call the helpline to work with a quit coach for free. To reach the Arizona Smoker’s Helpline, call (800) 556-6222.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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Students take lead at Great American Smokeout

December 11, 2014
Photo: Courtesy Maricopa County Department of Public Health Dominique Arvizu, a senior at right, explains to her Ironwood High School classmate Abraham Smith, a sophomore, that he has passed a carbon monoxide breath test with flying colors. They were practicing with the device to help any smokers who stopped by their educational display outside a CVS store Nov. 20.  

Photo: Courtesy Maricopa County Department of Public Health
Dominique Arvizu, a senior at right, explains to her Ironwood High School classmate Abraham Smith, a sophomore, that he has passed a carbon monoxide breath test with flying colors. They were practicing with the device to help any smokers who stopped by their educational display outside a CVS store Nov. 20.

 Thursday, December 11, 2014

Several students from Ironwood High School participated in the Great American Smokeout Nov. 20, challenging some customers at a nearby CVS pharmacy store to quit cold turkey and helping others make a plan to stop smoking.

Jo Ann Brown, a prevention specialist for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, credited CVS with removing all cigarettes and tobacco products from its shelves last month and making a store available for the educational efforts of those students.

About 10 local youth attended that event on the sidewalk of the CVS store at 75th Avenue and Cactus Road. They belong to Students Taking a New Direction, an anti-tobacco coalition of teens and students from across Arizona.

Dominique Arvizu, a high school senior and a cousin to Brown, serves as secretary of the club at Ironwood. She began recruiting students in August, primarily through lunchtime events, and the club now has 30 active members. Read the rest of this entry »

New Studies Detail the High Costs of Smoking in America, and the Comparitive Bargain of Convincing People to Quit

December 11, 2014

Two new studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the health care costs of smoking are even higher than previously estimated, and that the CDC’s Tips from Former Smokers mass media campaign has been extremely cost-effective at getting smokers to quit.

Together these studies demonstrate that tobacco use is needlessly bankrupting our health care system despite the availability of proven, cost-effective measures that are not being fully utilized. While the United States has greatly reduced smoking, tobacco use continues to take a huge health and financial toll on the nation that policy makers cannot ignore.

The studies on healthcare costs and on the media campaign were published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The first study finds that smoking costs our nation about $170 billion a year in health care spending – 8.7 percent of all health care spending in the U.S. This is up from an estimate of at least $132.5 billion included in the 2014 Surgeon General’s report on tobacco released in January. More than 60 percent of these costs are paid by taxpayers through government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. These findings show that smoking imposes a cost on all taxpayers and reducing tobacco use is a critical part of bringing down health care spending in the U.S.

The second study shows that in its first year (2012), the CDC’s Tips from Former Smokers campaign helped 100,000 smokers to quit and saved about 17,000 people from a premature death. The campaign, with a modest budget of $48 million, spent only $480 per smoker who quit and $393 per year of life saved. These costs are far below the benchmark of $50,000 per year of life saved that is a commonly accepted threshold for measuring cost-effectiveness of public health interventions, study authors write.

These studies show that investing in programs that prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart and fiscally responsible thing to do.  It saves lives AND money. We urge Congress to ensure that campaigns like Tips from Former Smokers are continued and expanded.

Tips, which continued in 2013 and this year, is the first federally-funded national media campaign to reduce tobacco use. It has been highly effective despite being on the air for only about 12 weeks a year and spending just a fraction of the $8.8 billion a year, or $1 million per hour, the tobacco industry spends to market its deadly and addictive products. The 2014 Surgeon General’s report called for conducting national mass media campaigns “at a high frequency level and exposure for 12 months a year for a decade or more.”

The states must also increase funding for proven tobacco prevention and cessation programs, including media campaigns. The states collect over $25 billion a year from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but spend less than two percent of it on these programs, falling far short of CDC recommendations. The states must increase their tobacco prevention and cessation efforts because the bill is just getting larger. (On Thursday, December 11, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health groups will release our annual report on state funding of tobacco prevention programs.)

There is growing evidence that tobacco prevention and cessation programs deliver a strong return on investment. A 2011 study in theAmerican Journal of Public Health found that Washington state saved more than $5 in tobacco-related hospitalization costs for every$1 spent during the first 10 years of its program.

Tobacco use is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the United States, killing 480,000 Americans every year. Despite our progress, 17.8 percent of U.S. adults and 15.7 percent of high school students still smoke. Without urgent action now, 5.6 million children alive today will die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases. The studies today remind us that this is an entirely winnable battle and that the cost of failing to do so is far too high.

Logo –

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids


CVS Gives Out Free Cigarette Packs Stuffed With Help For Quitting

November 14, 2014

You can’t buy tobacco products anymore at the newly-renamed CVS Health, but you can get the cashier to give you a free pack. While the little red box is shaped like a cigarette pack, that isn’t what’s inside. These packs are available for free, and have coupons and materials inside meant to inspire customers to quit smoking.

Reader Randy reports that cashiers at his local CVS were putting these statements inside customers’ bags.


Behind the counter, cashiers had these free packs, whcih reportedly have at least one generous (CVS-only, of course) coupon for smoking-cessation aids.


What caught Randy’s eye was this warning on the outside of the pack:


CVS pharmacies had originally planned to stop selling tobacco products on October 1, but instead emptied the shelves at the beginning of this month. The chain used to make about $2 billion per year from selling tobacco products, but lawmakers nationwide have been making the case that stores shouldn’t sell smokes alongside medicine.

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CDC’s 2016 Tips Campaign Recruitment

September 16, 2014


We are beginning our ad participant recruitment efforts for the 2016 Tips From Former Smokers (Tips) campaign and would greatly appreciate your help to broadly share this information. Similar to previous Tips campaigns, we are conducting a national search to identify people who experienced smoking-related health problems and are willing to share their compelling stories.


We have developed the following 2016 Tips campaign recruitment materials and tools we hope you will find useful:


  • A letter signed by me with detailed information about our recruitment criteria
  • A sample e-mail for use by you and your colleagues (attached)
  • Two sample newsletter articles (attached)
  • Social media materials
    • Two Facebook images and sample posts and tweets (attached)
    • Both high- and low-resolution recruitment buttons and banners (attached) that your organization and partners can place on your respective Web sites
  • Links to recruitment flyers for the various conditions we are recruiting for, all of which are listed below


For more information, please visit the 2016 Tips recruitment Web site at



Timothy McAfee, MD, MPH

Director, Office on Smoking and Health

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Recruitment Letter from Dr. McAfee

Tips 2016 Sample Recruitment Partner Email

Tips 2016 Recruitment Partner Newsletter

Tips 2016 Social Media Content

Recruitment Banner low res

Recruitment Banner high res