A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Patient Advocates work to educate Kentuckians on tobacco cessation during “Kick It, Kentucky!” week

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and 26 other leading health organizations are offering support to those Kentuckians looking to quit tobacco as part of the first-ever Kick It, Kentucky! week.

ACS CAN and a broad coalition of advocacy organizations and health systems from around the state, including the American Lung Association, Baptist Health, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, Kentucky Cancer Consortium, Kentucky Medical Association, March of Dimes, QuitNow KY, Owensboro Health, St. Elizabeth’s Healthcare and the UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health, joined the effort in support of a tobacco-free Kentucky.

Sen. Julie Raque Adams, chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, sponsored legislation that took effect this summer requiring commercial health plans and Medicaid to provide comprehensive, barrier-free coverage to all tobacco cessation treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including prescription and over-the-counter medications and counseling services.

“Kick It, Kentucky! week is the perfect time to consider quitting tobacco,” said Sen. Adams. “Quitting tobacco use will improve your health, save you money and benefit your entire community.”

“Over the past 13 years, our smoke-free ordinance has made Lexington a healthier city,” said Mayor Jim Gray. “Quitting tobacco isn’t easy, but the information, tools and resources available today are keys to success.”

“Tobacco use affects nearly every organ of the body, and is responsible for more than one in five deaths in Kentucky,” said Ben Chandler, President and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “Reducing the use of tobacco is the single most effective thing Kentuckians can do to improve health and their communities can support them by going smoke-free.”

“Providing patients with a comprehensive cessation benefit is critical to improving health outcomes, but there is still much work to be done to address the problem of Kentucky’s high tobacco use rates,” said Erica Palmer Smith, Kentucky government relations director for ACS CAN. “Kentucky must seriously consider more evidence-based solutions if we want to reduce tobacco use in the Commonwealth for good. Implementing smoke-free policies, increasing taxes on tobacco products and fully funding the statewide tobacco prevention and cessation program are critical next steps.”

Kentuckians looking to quit tobacco use can start by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW and consulting with their doctors. To educate Kentuckians on tobacco cessation and available resources, ACS CAN will host a Twitter Q&A with a panel of experts on Wednesday, September 27 from 1 to 2 p.m. EST. Follow @ACSCANKY and www.smokefreetomorrow.org and www.quitnowkentucky.org.

From Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky

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