American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Calls for Action in Knoxville to Help People Quit Tobacco
As Tennessee Remains One of Few States Still Vulnerable to Secondhand Smoke, Despite Research on Its Dangers First Published Over 40 Years Ago
KNOXVILLE, TN – November 17, 2022 – Cancer patients and survivors are marking the American Cancer Society's 47th annual Great American Smokeout® today by shining a spotlight on the dangers of secondhand smoke and the importance of smoke-free laws in protecting the health of Knoxville residents.
A recent ACS study found that in 2019, 35.2% of cancer deaths in Tennessee were claimed by cigarette smoking.
"The Great American Smokeout® is about helping people quit, and in addition to protecting people from secondhand smoke, we know that strong smoke-free laws help encourage and support those who are trying to do just that," said Maddie Bushnell, Tennessee Government Relations Director at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "No one should have to choose between their health and a good paycheck. Everyone should have the right to breathe clean, smoke-free air regardless of where they live, work or play in Knoxville.”
Strong smoke-free laws are critical in helping denormalize smoking, supporting adults who wish to quit and preventing the next generation from ever starting. Currently, over 62 percent of the U.S. population is protected from secondhand smoke exposure by local or statewide smokefree laws. Despite research on the dangers of secondhand smoke being first published over 40 years ago, Knoxville residents remain vulnerable to secondhand smoke with no strong smoke-free law.
“Strong smoke-free ordinances are the only way to protect all who work, visit and play from the dangers of secondhand smoke and have benefited local business and tourism in other cities,” added Bushnell. “Knoxville can help lead the way towards reducing tobacco use and its devastating toll across our state while also advancing our mission to end cancer as we know it, for everyone.”
People who do not smoke but are exposed to secondhand smoke are inhaling many of the same cancer-causing substances and poisons that are inhaled by people who smoke, with even brief exposure damaging the body’s cells in ways that set the cancer process in motion. In addition to being good for health, numerous studies have found smoke-free laws do not hurt and may even benefit restaurant and bar sales.
Free resources on quitting smoking can be found at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or through the American Cancer Society’s brand new cessation service, Empowered to Quit.