(WAFB) - According to the recent State of Tobacco Control 2017 report from the American Lung Association, Louisiana received an F grade in several categories when it comes to helping smokers in the state.
"While the report states that the State of Louisiana's Tobacco Control programs are failing Louisiana smokers, it does not adequately reflect the service made available for no charge to Louisiana residents by the New Orleans-based Smoking Cessation Trust (SCT), that are successfully helping smokers quit," said Mike Rogers, CEO of SCT. "The report did not take into account the fact that the trust spent in excess of $15 million in 2016 to assist trust members in Louisiana.
"Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Louisiana and we are tirelessly striving to reach as many eligible Louisiana smokers and provide them with the free products and services they need to successfully quit," Rogers continued. "To date, the SCT has reached more than 66,000 Louisiana smokers who have chosen to kick the cigarette habit. Additionally, early statistics from our program show that approximately 30 percent of its members quit during the initial try the the trust, and 25 percent of those who are treated by the trust's network of statewide providers will repeat their quit attempts in the year(s) following their first try. At the end of our 10-year program, we hope to have reached our goal of helping more than 200,000 smokers quit."
In response to the report, which says 21.9 percent of adults in Louisiana smoke, with $1.89 billion spent in annual healthcare costs in the state directly caused by smoking, the American Lung Association is calling for the following actions to be taken by state officials:
- Ensure smoke-free protections for all bars and casino employees in municipalities throughout the state
- Strengthen existing statewide smoke-free law to include bar and casino employee protections
- Sustain tobacco prevention and cessation funding
"We agree with ALA-Louisiana's recommendations to the state legislature. But we also want to remind Louisiana smokers that in addition to the state-run tobacco control programs, there are other cessation programs and opportunities out there for them to not only improve their health by quitting, but to save hundreds of dollars annually, since smoking has become a progressively more expensive habit to support," said Rogers.
For more information about SCT, visit www.smokefreela.org or call 504-529-5665 or toll free at 1-855-259-6346.