MONTGOMERY, AL – November 17, 2022 – Cancer patients and survivors are marking the American Cancer Society's 47th annual Great American Smokeout® today by calling on state officials to protect the health of Alabama residents by investing in the state’s tobacco cessation program to support adults who wish to quit.
“Nearly 70% of people who currently smoke cigarettes want to quit, and the Great American Smokeout® is about helping people reach that important goal. We know increasing funding for the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation programs to $6 million annually will help people quit and save lives," said John Hoctor, Regional Managing Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network covering Alabama. "A well-funded, fact-based tobacco control program is needed to counteract the $202 million per year that tobacco companies are spending to market their deadly and addictive products in Alabama.”
Alabama is 11th in the nation for smoking-related cancer deaths, in part due to the state’s weak tobacco control policies: with the state ranking 42nd in the nation for funding of youth and adult tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
A new ACS study found that in 2019, 33.5% of all cancer deaths in Alabama were smoking-related. It should be noted that the damage tobacco inflicts upon our state is not limited to death and disease. In Alabama alone, annual health care costs related to smoking last year totaled an overwhelming $2.19 billion.
“As Big Tobacco has been working hard to addict future generations with e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, the need for tobacco prevention program funding has never been greater,” added Hoctor. “We urge state leaders to mark the Great American Smokeout® by ensuring our programs to keep kids from starting to use tobacco and help those already addicted to quit are funded at $6 million annually. In doing so, Alabama will take a decisive step towards reducing tobacco use and its devastating toll on our communities while also advancing our mission to end cancer as we know it, for everyone.”
Free resources on quitting smoking can be found at the Alabama Tobacco Quitline or through the American Cancer Society’s brand new cessation service, the Empowered to Quit program.