The Wellness Coalition Celebrates World No Tobacco Day on May 31 With the Formation of a Tobacco Task Force

·3 min read
The Wellness Coalition
The Wellness Coalition

The Tobacco Task Force invites residents to join a community coalition to promote tobacco-free public spaces in the River Region

MONTGOMERY, Ala., May 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- World No Tobacco Day is on May 31, and it’s a day to raise awareness about the deadly effects of tobacco, offer support to those who want to stop smoking, and work toward a smoke-free future. The Wellness Coalition (TWC) has long provided free resources to quit tobacco. Now, in partnership with the Alabama Department of Public Health, TWC has developed a Tobacco Task Force to bring the community together to address problems with smoking in public spaces and other tobacco-related initiatives.

“On World No Tobacco Day, we encourage the community to envision how smoke-free public spaces can improve the health of everyone,” said Sam Duff, tobacco cessation program coordinator for The Wellness Coalition. “Secondhand smoke, even when it is outdoors, is always harmful, and the only way we can prevent that risk of harm is by creating more spaces free of smoke.”

The Tobacco Task Force takes a multi-faceted approach to reducing tobacco dependency and secondhand smoke in the River Region. They are implementing a 5-year strategic plan, conducting a needs assessment, and developing an evidence-based publication, among other activities. One of the Tobacco Task Force’s first initiatives is the “LungLovers” survey to learn from smokers, former smokers, and nonsmokers about their experience with tobacco. The data will help TWC facilitate tobacco cessation efforts and to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of tobacco on River Region residents.

TWC is currently looking for people to join the Tobacco Task Force as members of the following committees:

  • Grassroots Strategies

  • Public Relations/Events Planning/Communications

  • Research/Policy Reform

  • Prevention/Cessation/Health

  • Housing/Business Transitional Advisory Board

  • Project Advisory Board

Anyone interested in joining can submit their information at bit.ly/TWC-TOBACCOTF.

“We are asking smokers and nonsmokers alike to recognize that smoke-free public spaces will benefit all of us,” said Duff. “By working together, we know we can make progress in reducing tobacco use while cultivating a healthier, tobacco-free lifestyle for the communities we live in.”

Tobacco Use in Alabama
The hazards of tobacco use and exposure are nothing new to most people. However, despite national education campaigns, tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. That fact is not surprising: cigarettes are engineered to quickly lead to addiction, making it very difficult for people to quit without proper resources and support.

  • 21.5 percent of adults in Alabama are current cigarette smokers.

  • Alabama has the 8th highest adult smoking prevalence rate in the nation.

  • 10.1 percent of mothers reported smoking during pregnancy.

  • From 1996 to 2016, adult smoking prevalence fell on average only 0.2 percent per year.

  • 10.9 percent of high school students are current smokers.

The Health Impact of Tobacco in Alabama:

  • 8,823 deaths in Alabama were attributable to smoking-related causes.

  • 144,864 years of potential life were lost due to smoking-attributable premature death.

  • 750 nonsmoking Alabamians die every year from secondhand smoke.

  • 16.4 years of life were lost, on average, among Alabama adults who died due to a smoking-attributable illness.

Free resources and support to quit tobacco can be found at thewellnesscoalition.org/tobacco or by calling 334-293-6502.

ABOUT THE WELLNESS COALITION
The Wellness Coalition provides no-cost coaching, education, and other services for River Region residents to manage and prevent chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, hypertension, obesity, and more. To learn more, visit www.thewellnesscoalition.org or call (334) 293-6502.

Travis Parker
(334) 293-6502
tparker@thewellnesscoalition.org