June 16 2015
JUNEAU – This Father’s Day, SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and the other advocates from the Partnership for a Tobacco-Free Southeast are encouraging dads who smoke or use tobacco to quit and reminding them that free help is available.
According to the coalition, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids reports that 22.9% of men in Alaska currently smoke, or 66,000 Alaskans, ranking Alaska in the top twenty highest male smoking populated states. In addition, the state spends $279.5 million dollars in health care costs annually to treat male smokers.
“Kids from families who smoke are twice as likely to become smokers themselves; it is so important to lead by example. If you are a dad who smokes, quit. Tell you kids why you are quitting. Educate them about how addictive smoking is and how important it is to never start,” said Gary Ferguson of the Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance. “We’ve got to do everything we can to help men quit tobacco use – children’s lives depend on it.”
Dads that use tobacco aren’t the only ones affected by their addiction. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids also reports that over 500 Alaskan kids have lost their dads to smoking. Beyond that, two out of every five kids ages 3 to 11 are exposed to second-hand smoke in the US. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals and compounds, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 69 that cause cancer.
The Partnership for a Tobacco-Free Southeast cites many benefits to quitting tobacco use, including a decrease of coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath in one to nine months after quitting tobacco; that means more energy for family time! One year after quitting tobacco, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a tobacco user. Men can add years to their lives in just 12 months.
Men who use tobacco and are ready to quit can call 1-800-QUIT NOW to receive free help and quit support through the Alaska Tobacco Quit Line. Juneau residents are also encouraged to visit Juneau Clean Air for more on the Juneau Clean Air’s tobacco prevention and control efforts.