by Kim Bayha, Health Policy Coordinator for Tobacco Control, Mecklenburg County Public Health
It’s no secret that tobacco dependence is a wicked addiction. When used as directed, tobacco kills half of its loyal users. Yet, 90 percent of those people start using before they’re 18. The human brain isn’t even fully-formed and able to give informed consent at that age!
There has been incredible progress in the fight against tobacco. Smoking rates have declined from nearly half the population in 1965 to about 17 percent today. But, tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in our community. The Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society every November, provides an opportunity to talk about some of the strategies that are most successful for reducing tobacco use and developing a quit plan.