Posts Tagged ‘ashline’

50th Anniversary Surgeon General Report on Smoking

January 29th, 2014

The new Surgeon General’s report on smoking called The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General adds diabetes, colorectal and liver cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, erectile dysfunction, age-related macular degeneration, and other conditions to the list of diseases that cigarette smoking causes.  The report (released this week) concludes that secondhand smoke exposure is now known to cause strokes even in nonsmokers.

The new report also says 5.6 million American children alive today will die prematurely from smoking-related diseases unless current smoking rates drop. The report concludes that smoking kills nearly half a million Americans a year, with an additional 16 million suffering from smoking-related conditions. It puts the price tag of smoking in the U.S. at more than $289 billion a year in direct medical care and other economic costs.

2014 Punch-list for a Healthier You

January 16th, 2014


Start the New Year Off Right: Kick the Habit

January 15th, 2014

50 years ago this week the 1st Surgeon General’s report on the health dangers of smoking was published- and we’re still fighting the battle.  About 43 million Americans still smoke despite decades of warnings. Smoking kills more people every year than car crashes, suicides, murders, illegal and prescription drugs, and alcohol abuse combined (6,800 people each year in Arizona). 

If your New Year’s resolution is to quit smoking, you’re in good company. Quitting tobacco is the 3rd most common resolution- but it’s often broken because of a lack of support. The Arizona Smokers’ Helpline (our ASHLine) is a free service available to any Arizonan who’s looking for help to quit tobacco. The ASHLine provides free quit coach services which means you’ll work with someone to develop a quit plan. Many of the coaches are former smokers themselves so they know how difficult quitting can be. 

The ASHLine also provides nicotine replacement therapies such as the gum, patch or medication. When nicotine replacement is combined with the use of a quit coach the ASHLine’s success rate is 33%. Compare that to quitting cold turkey which is only successful 3% of the time. 

If you’re ready to quit tobacco today, call the ASHLine toll-free at 1-800-55-66-222 or visit for more information. Quit coaches are ready to help you make 2014 a tobacco free year.

Smoking & Stillbirth

December 23rd, 2013

It’s been almost 50 years since the 1st Surgeon General’s report on the health dangers of smoking and we’re still fighting the battle.  About 43 million Americans smoke despite decades of warnings.  Science continues to uncover dangerous aspects of tobacco use.  A new report highlights the threat to unborn children.  

The study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology used blood samples from stillborn babies to find the impact of smoking, secondhand smoke, marijuana and other prescription drugs.  The results showed double the risk of stillbirth for mom’s who smoked tobacco or marijuana or other stimulant or prescription drugs.  

We know that getting healthcare while you’re pregnant is important – but it’s also important to be healthy before a woman even gets pregnant.  First stop smoking – whether you’re the mom to be or her family.   The ASHLine (our highly successful quit line) has free support and provides tools to help you make and keep the promise to stop using tobacco. Stop using drugs unless your doctor tells you to – there are great resources available in Arizona if you need help. And take care of your body – Power Me A2Z and Every Woman Arizona are geared toward helping women be healthy.

Arizonans Continue to Kick the Habit

December 6th, 2013

We continue to make strides to get Arizonans to Kick the Habit.  We got the good news this week that Arizona’s adult smoking rate dropped 2 more percentage points in the last year…  going from 19% 2011 to 17% today.  The data come from this year’s CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System…  and it translates into 72,000 fewer AZ smokers and $432M less in total lifetime health-care costs. 

Even more dramatic is the youth rate, which fell from 17% to 14%. We’ve had a 30% drop in our AZ youth smoking rate over the last 4 years meaning that there are 110,000 fewer kids smokers today than four years ago.  A 2009 U of A report on the value of prevention found that preventing one kid from starting to smoke saves the state on average $6,000 over that smoker’s lifetime.  

It’s no coincidence that the historic drop began in 2009.  After years of stagnant youth prevention rates our Tobacco & Chronic Disease prevention team rebooted their tobacco control efforts in 2008. On the adult side, we developed a new strategic plan to improve the effectiveness of our smoking cessation resources via the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline.  A simple cost-effective campaign was created in 2010 that utilized ADHS staff as extras in their “Call Center” campaign, and it  has been very successful. The ASHLine also launched Project Quit…  which is our initiative designed to showcase the quit process. 

On the kids side, we launched our anti-tobacco youth coalition effort, Students Taking a New Direction. Better known as STAND, it empowers teens to make positive changes in their community. With assistance from Tucson based Pima Prevention Partnership, STAND has grown into over twenty collations spread throughout Arizona working on initiatives such as ordinances for smoke-free parks, smoke-free multi-unit housing and expanding smoke-free zones.

CDC’s Smoking Cessation Campaign

September 24th, 2013

The CDC just released a report for their national smoking cessation campaign launched in March 2012 called “Tips from former smokers.” Nationally, the ‘Tips’ campaign led to an estimated 1.6 million smokers attempting to quit with 100,000 likely quitting for good.  The campaign directed callers to 1-800-QUIT-NOW. If you call from an Arizona zip code you are routed to the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline (ASHLine). 

Locally the ‘Tips’ campaign increased calls to the ASHLine by 15%.  The additional attention the national campaign brings to quitting highlights the successfulness of the ASHLine. The CDC estimates that the ‘Tips’ campaign spent approximately $200 on each quitter and had a quit rate of approximately six percent. Compare that to the ASHLine where approximately $100 per quitter is spent resulting in a more than 30% quit rate. It’s estimated that every person who quits saves the public about $136,000 over the rest of his lifetime – that’s counting healthcare costs and lost productivity caused by illness and disease. 

We continue to help people in Arizona quit using tobacco by using innovative campaigns like Project Quit, and launching new resources like The CIGnal, which is a quitline designed for teen and young adult tobacco users.

Leveraging Medicaid to Help Arizonans “Kick the Habit”

September 19th, 2013

Many of the health disparities in the US are linked to income.  In general… the lower a family’s income the greater the prevalence of health disparities.  Health impacts from smoking cigarettes are no exception.  Arizonans below the poverty line (100% of FPL) are 40% more likely to smoke than those with more money… and about 34% of Arizona folks who receive their health insurance through Medicaid smoke.  This higher smoking rate results in a cascade of negative health impacts over the course of a lifetime.  BTW…  less than 7% of Arizonans that make over $75K smoke. 

For the last few months our Tobacco and Chronic Disease team has been working with AHCCCS to get the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow us to claim the 50% federal administrative match rate for the Arizona Smokers Helpline (the ASHLine) for the smoking cessation services that we provide to AZ Medicaid beneficiaries. 

Last month we were successful!  CMS approved the reimbursement for Federal Financial Participation for our Quitline Administrative Expenditures.  The reimbursement will come from CMS to AHCCCS and then back to us and then back to the ASHLine.  Arizona is only the 10th state to receive approval to reimburse Quitline services for Medicaid folks.  A shout out to Courtney Ward for making this happen! 

Establishing this public-public partnership with Medicaid is critical to ensuring access to evidence-based cessation treatments for a population disparately impacted by tobacco’s harm. This financial match coupled with our efforts to entice new partnerships with health plans and employers will help to address and provide tobacco cessation services for this AZ Winnable Battle


Youth Smoking Cessation Campaign Launches

September 13th, 2013

Our focus groups with young tobacco users across Arizona has found that teen and young adult smokers are different from adult smokers. Young smokers may not smoke daily and don’t see themselves as smokers. They also aren’t receptive to the idea of needing help to quit. Many teen and young adult smokers believe that they can quit at any time without help and have little or no knowledge about quitting. 

Using this info (and other key info from the focus groups) we’ve crafted and launched our new comprehensive program aimed at helping adolescents and young adult smokers kick the habit.  It’s called “THE CIGNAL“ and we launched it last week.  The program includes ASHLine quit coaches that have been specifically trained to help teens recognize their addiction to tobacco and provide assistance in quitting.  Of course, since this is aimed at teens and young adults, we’re mainly using social media formats for this intervention strategy.

Project Quit Kickoff

August 30th, 2013

Tobacco is one of the most difficult addictions to break. A successful tobacco quitter can make on average 10 attempts before they’re able to finally kick the habit. This week we launched Project Quit, a new initiative developed in partnership with the Arizona Smokers Helpline a.k.a. ASHLine to showcase the tobacco quit process. 

Project Quit follows 4 tobacco users for 30 days and records their journeys to quit using tobacco.  The stories are compelling and emotional as they showcase the struggles and successes of quitting tobacco. Project Quit participants allowed a professional camera crew into their homes to film segments at the beginning, middle and end of the 30 days. They also recorded daily confessionals via web cams about the quitting process that included calls with ASHLine quit coaches. Also highlighted in the project are interviews with an addiction specialist who guides viewers through the quitting process.        

You can see each of their stories unfold on the Project Quit website and on our Facebook page. Click on each of the links to learn more about the project and to find resources that can help you or someone you know to quit using tobacco. We’re excited to launch Project Quit and applaud the participants for wanting to quit- and for sharing their experiences with AZ.  One of the successful participants is an ADHS employee- you’ll need to watch to find out who.

New AZ Cancer Report

August 22nd, 2013

Surveillance is a cornerstone of public health practice because it gives us the tools we need to identify priorities and craft effective interventions to improve outcomes.  Cancer surveillance is no exception.  Our Arizona Cancer Registry tracks and monitors the number and types of cancer cases in the state and publishes reports periodically.  Our new report shows that we’re continuing to have lower cancer rates than the rest of the country overall.  Prostate cancer is the most common diagnosed among men and breast cancer is the most common diagnosed among women.  

Lung cancer continues to be the deadliest cancer for all Arizonans, with 1,479 men and 1,185 women dying from lung cancer every year.  Folks can reduce their chances of dying from lung cancer if you smoke by stopping – visit or call 800-55-66-222 to find free help.