MASON COUNTY— Perhaps one of the most common new year’s resolutions is “I’m going to quit smoking.”
But as many have probably come to find, actually going through with quitting can be much more difficult that just talking about it. For any who feels like they need a little help in this area, the Mason County Health Department will be offering a free smoking cessation class from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at the Health Department. Teresa Adkins Mills, the health department’s Regional Tobacco Prevention Coalition coordinator will head the class. To sign up for this class, call the Mason County Health Department at 304-675-3050 or Ms. Mills at 304-633-4555. It was reported that if there is enough interest in this class, it may be offered on a monthly basis.
The consequences of smoking can sometimes be devastating. According to WV Division of Tobacco Prevention, tobacco use, particularly smoking and spit tobacco, is the leading cause of death and disease in W. Va. It was reported that around 4,000 residents die from tobacco use each year. If this pattern continues, it is estimated that over 40,000 residents will die by the year 2020. Cigarette smoke is known to contain hundreds of dangerous toxins and cancer causing substances.
Secondhand smoke can also be just as deadly as actually smoking a cigarette. It was reported that when a cigarette is smoked, at least one-half of the smoke will go out in to the air, and it contains the same toxins as before. It contains over 4,000 chemicals, and at least 50 are believed to cause cancer. Annually, secondhand smoke can cause around 3,000 deaths, due to lung cancer, and as many as 35,000 deaths, due to heart disease.
Many are working to make W. Va. citizens safe from secondhand smoke. Several years ago, the Mason County Board of Health formed the Mason County Clean Indoor Air Regulation. This regulation requires certain public places, such as grocery stores, restaurants, and bowling alleys to have restrictions on where smoking is permitted. Many public places have banned smoking completely, but others have specific areas set aside for smokers.
Smoking not only causes several cardiovascular diseases, it can also greatly affect the economy. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free kids, the annual cost of health care in W. Va. directly caused by smoking is $690 million. It is also estimated that $121.2 million is spent on W. Va. marketing for tobacco products.
If this cessation class is not for you, there are several other options for assistance. Another is West Virginia’s tobacco cessation program. This program offers one-on-one help, and the “Y Not Quit” hotline. This hotline provides nicotine replacement therapy, counseling, guide books, and encouragement. The “Y Not Quit” hotline is available Monday through Friday, toll free, at 1-877-ynotquit.
For more information on the Mason County Clean Indoor Air Regulation, secondhand smoke, or smoking related illnesses, visit www.wvdhhr.org.