The Top 5 things that kill people in the US are: heart disease, cancer, lung disease such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, stroke and injuries. In fact- these 5 conditions cause 63% of all deaths in the US — which is nearly 18,000 people each year in AZ (about 50 people/day in AZ).
This week the CDC released its first report on potentially preventable deaths from those causes in each one of the 50 states. The data suggest we could prevent at least a third of those deaths. We already know how to do it — now we need to act on what we know. Whether it’s by investing resources, using proven strategies or coordinating with health care systems, we have within our communities the strengths to help people live long and healthy lives. Even identifying and focusing on just one issue that can be addressed in each community will make a difference.
Tobacco use is a major factor in four out of the five leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung disease and stroke. It causes about a third of heart disease and cancer, and most emphysema. Getting the last 17% of Arizonans who still smoke to quit will make a huge difference in the length and quality of their lives.
We continue to make strides to get Arizonans to Kick the Habit. Last year the adult smoking rate dropped 2 more percentage points… going from 19% 2011 to 17% today. 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.
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.