The Great American Smokeout is an opportunity for us to renew our nation's commitment to prevent kids from starting to smoke and to help adults quit tobacco use. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death, killing about 440,000 Americans each year. Yet, every day in the United States, about 3,450 young people between 12 and 17 years old smoke their first cigarette.
The Obama administration and the Department of Health of Human Services (HHS) have taken concrete steps to reduce tobacco use. The Affordable Care Act includes several important initiatives towards this, including expanding access to tobacco use cessation treatment, launching a successful PSA campaign, and supporting state tobacco use quitlines. HHS invests in and helps support local, state and national tobacco prevention and control efforts.
For individuals trying to quit, help is out there. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and get expert assistance. And visit HHS's latest resource www.BeTobaccoFree.gov, a comprehensive tobacco website with information on avoiding or ending tobacco use.
We must support our family and friends who are trying to quit smoking by continuing to lead efforts to end the tobacco epidemic. My hope is that, one day, we achieve a society free from tobacco-related death and disease. For today's Great American Smokeout, join millions of others around the country and commit to give up smoking.