State Launches Quit Smoking Campaign
In Massachusetts, 25 residents die from smoking related causes each day.
With that in mind, Wednesday the Department of Public Health (news - web sites) and the major health plans in Massachusetts announced a program that they hope will help smokers kick the habit for good.
NewsCenter 5's Rhonda Mann reported that tobacco addiction is a public health catastrophe and a kit meant to combat that fact is coming to a doctor's office near you.
Quitworks is designed to help physicians help patients who smoke, by referring them to one of more than 80 state-sponsored anti-smoking programs. It is free to the patient, regardless of what health plan they have.
"In the past, doctors have a different thing from every single health plan and it becomes impossible to remember that patient A gets this and patient B gets this," said Dr. Nancy Rigotti of Massachusetts General Hospital.
Details on the program were released Wednesday and among the newest statistics: Every pack of cigarettes sold in the state in the year 2000 cost an estimated $7.65 in health care expenses.
On average, cigarettes shorten a Bay State smoker's life by 13 years.
Despite the new Quitworks program, the state's efforts to make smoking history -- including its memorable advertising campaign -- are in jeopardy. The Tobacco Control Program faces a 41 percent budget cut at what health officials call a critical time.
"Cigarette sales have unfortunately have gone up since Sept. 11, and that reflects the tremendous stress on our society, so this is the time to really support our programs, not cut them back," said Department of Public Health Commissioner Howard Koh.
Carole Fiore is proof that the programs work. She started smoking at age 13. Now, she's gone 90 days without a cigarette.
"I can walk 3 miles. I feel like I can do anything. Because of my doctor's caring and encouragement, I am today, and for the rest of my life, a nonsmoker," said Fiore.
Three-quarters of people who smoke in Massachusetts do see a doctor each year. Health officials hope that putting a tool like the Quitworks kit in the hands of physicians will help stomp out smoking for good.
Every pack of cigarettes sold in the state in 2000 cost an estimated $7.65 in health care expenses.
Smoking costs $12 million per day in health-related economic losses and medical expenditures.
A total of 9,277 people died from smoking-related diseases in Massachusetts during 2000 (5,033 men and 4,244 women).
Adult smokers in Massachusetts lost an average of 13 years of their lives because they smoked.
As many as 12 infant deaths per year may be associated with maternal smoking.
About $20,000 per day, or a total of $7.3 million, was spent during 2000 on neonatal expenses due to maternal smoking, about 2 percent of all neonatal expenses.