Improving Health by Reducing Tobacco Use
Tobacco kills more people in our state than AIDS, alcohol, auto accidents, drug overdoses, murders, and suicides combined. The use of cigarettes and other tobacco products is the single, most preventable cause of disease, disability and death, both in Michigan and across the United States.
The MDHHS Tobacco Section team is dedicated to changing the negative health and economic impact of tobacco by:
- providing help and support for smokers who want to quit;
- promoting smoke-free air spaces, both indoors and out of doors;
- protecting youth from exposure to secondhand smoke;
- continuing to raise awareness about other tobacco products, both the old (such as spit tobacco) and the new, emerging products; and
- educating and empowering population groups that bear a higher-than-average burden from tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.
Take Charge of Your Health! We Can Help
Do you or a loved one want to quit smoking? Congratulations! Quitting will bring both immediate and long-term benefits to you and those close to you. Tobacco use affects not only your health, but also the health of your family and others around you.
There are many ways to quit, and there are many resources available to help. One of the best is the Michigan Tobacco Quitline, which offers free provider referrals, free counseling, and free nicotine replacement therapy to those who qualify. Call 800-784-8669 today to find out more.
Secondhand smoke is a killer. Every year, approximately 1,740 Michigan residents who don't smoke die from having been exposed to someone else’s tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, at least 250 of which are known to be harmful, and 69 of which cause cancer. Current research also links thirdhand smoke to health risks.
Michigan has statewide smoke-free air laws that protect residents and visitors from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in public places. The most comprehensive one is Public Act 188 of 2009, Michigan's Smoke-Free Air Law, which protects residents and visitors in all the state's restaurants, bars and businesses, including hotels and motels.
Many landlords and rental housing management companies have adopted smoke-free policies for their residents. In fact, Michigan now leads the nation in the number of public housing commissions that have adopted smoke-free policies.
Work is ongoing to protect residents and visitors from exposure to secondhand smoke in other public areas, including parks and beaches.
Every year, approximately 9,800 Michigan kids under the age of 18 become regular smokers. Although the most recent Michigan Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicates that fewer youths are using tobacco, the war against underage tobacco use has yet to be won. There are four major evidence-based strategies that have been proven to reduce youth initiation to tobacco use:
- de-normalizing tobacco;
- counteracting industry messages that come from advertising, merchandizing, the Internet, and event sponsorships;
- increasing the price of tobacco products by raising taxes; and
- ensuring that our schools are tobacco-free zones.
Learn more about what can be done to keep our children from starting the tobacco habit.
The Ever-Changing Face of Tobacco
Obviously, not everyone who uses tobacco smokes cigarettes. Tobacco manufacturers have released a wide variety of new products in recent years in an attempt to keep the tobacco users they have and lure new ones into the market.
Today, tobacco is available in a number of different forms that users can smoke, chew, and even suck on or dissolve in their mouths and then swallow. These are not your father's cigarettes, cigars or pipe tobaccos.
Find out more about the range of tobacco-based products available for purchase in stores and online. You may be surprised.
The amount of tobacco use varies from one population group to another. For instance, American Indians living in Michigan have an adult smoking rate that is nearly twice that of White state residents.
One reason differences like this exist is that target marketing is an attempt to increase market share by targeting certain groups of people with advertisements, product promotions, and even sponsorships of community celebrations and events. Unfortunately, these attempts to "earn" group members' loyalty and either start them on tobacco products or increase their current level of use are frequently successful.
Find out more about target marketing.