Guest Article: BreatheWell Urges Residents To Take The Pledge
Pledge to kick tobacco March 25 can help put Newaygo County on path to better health
By Sally Wagoner, BSN, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, and Donna Norkoli, District Health Department #10
On March 25, Newaygo County can play an active role in sending tobacco addiction up in smoke.
That’s when people can take a pledge to quit – or stay off – tobacco. At the Great Start Family Expo at Newaygo Middle School, the partnership that makes up the BreatheWell campaign to reduce tobacco use in Newaygo County will invite individuals to take this pledge, while providing the support and resources soon-to-be ex-smokers need to succeed. The expo is open from 10am to 1pm.
BreatheWell partners Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, District Health Department #10, the Headway Coalition, NCRESA and many others are raising awareness about the dangers of tobacco because Newaygo County...
...has some of the highest rates of smoking in Michigan, with more than 26 percent of adults smoking. In comparison, the Michigan statewide average is 22 percent, according to District Health Department #10, which covers 10 counties including Newaygo County. More alarmingly, nearly 30 percent of pregnant women in Newaygo County smoke, compared with around 21 percent statewide, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Tobacco use is tied to chronic health diseases that plague Newaygo County citizens, from lung cancer to heart disease to obesity. Smokers are likely to lose about 10 years of their life expectancy, according to a 2013 New England Journal of Medicine report.
Smoking isn’t just a significant risk to our health. It can also burn a big hole in the wallet.
In Michigan, the total cost for each smoker is estimated at $1.6 million, including out-of-pocket costs of $128,000, lost financial opportunity costs of $1.1 million and lost income of more than $202,000, according to an analysis by WalletHub.
The health and financial effects of tobacco use are devastating. Newaygo County can do better.
That’s where our pledge comes in. As part of Kick Butts Day, a nationwide challenge issued on March 15, BreatheWell will be asking people to make a commitment to a healthier path for themselves, their families and their communities.
Spectrum Gerber Memorial and DHD #10 provide quit tobacco courses that are tailored to the individual to meet their specific needs, through group classes or one-on-one coaching.
These courses are a critical first step and can help triple the rate of success at quitting tobacco because they are structured to help individuals address and overcome underlying reasons why they smoke, chew or vape, including emotional and social influences. In a structured setting, individuals can identify their barriers to success and break from their smoking or tobacco use routines.
Run by certified tobacco treatment specialists, these courses also help identify the best nicotine replacement products for the individual, from patches and gum to nasal sprays, lozenges and medications, which most insurance covers.
Kick Butts Day’s primary goal is to reach out to youth early and steer them away from tobacco. To celebrate our youth, high school students from Fremont, Grant, White Cloud, Hesperia and Career Tech Center will participate in awareness-raising activities, including presentations, forum discussions, games and a graffiti wall. These student-led events will be showcased at the March 25 Great Start Family Expo and the public is invited to join and show support for our youth and their fight against tobacco.
Tobacco is more than just a bad habit. It is an addiction – and one that can be broken. By making a promise to quit and tapping into the many resources and programs in our community, Newaygo County can soon truly kick tobacco and breathe well.
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