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August 22, 2012

No Butts About It – There Are Still Smokers Out There!

There has been a lot of emphasis in the news lately about the growing epidemic of obesity.  We cannot deny that Americans are getting fatter.  The fact remains however, that cigarette smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death in the US each year; accounting for 1 in 5 deaths, or approximately 443,000 lives.

The statistical information cited by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that in 2010 slightly more men (21.5%) than women (17.3%) smoked.   And (alarmingly so), 20.1 percent of adults aged 18 to 24 are reported as smokers; that is roughly 1 out of every 5 recent high school graduates and college students smoke!  Adults with a college degree are less likely to smoke as are Asians and Hispanics.  States with the greatest number of smokers are found in the Midwest and Southeast; specifically, the lowest prevalence of smoking was found in Utah (9.1%) and the highest in West Virginia (26.8%).

While employers are concerned about smokers and the impact on the organization, the choice to invest in smoking cessation strategies can vary.  The use of penalties (such as increased health insurance premiums) to smokers is rising.  In general, employers are starting to talk openly about smoking and the health risks it presents.   In a report published by www.welcoa.org entitled, “The Burden of Tobacco Use”, they have put together a list of 50 ideas for helping employees in their efforts to quit smoking:  ideas ranging from how to create a smoking cessation program within your company to implementing a non-smoking policy.  It’s a terrific resource and worth checking out.

What are you doing in your company to help people quit smoking?  Let us know . .  .

Look for the full report CDC Report at:  http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/index.htm

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