For Immediate Release
May 27, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

KDHE Supports World No Tobacco Day

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) supports World No Tobacco Day on Monday, May 31. The focus of this year’s World No Tobacco Day, sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), is the harmful effects of tobacco marketing towards women and girls. 

“Approximately 46 percent of Kansas adult smokers are women and women make up about 20 percent of the one billion smokers worldwide,” said Roderick Bremby, KDHE Secretary.

Nearly half of current smokers will die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases and the tobacco industry needs to recruit new smokers to take their place.  Women and girls are increasingly being targeted with gender specific tobacco advertising.

“From the chic and glamorous images projected of smoking women to the implied slimness and independence displayed in women’s cigarette ads, young women and girls are being manipulated to begin smoking,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, Kansas State Health Officer and KDHE Director of Health.  “Once they are hooked at an early age, the quitting process is much more difficult.”

According to WHO, tobacco use could kill one billion people during this century.  Recognizing the importance of reducing tobacco use among women, and acting upon that recognition, would save many lives.

“Kansas made progress earlier this year in its continued effort to reduce tobacco death and disease, with the passage of the Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act,” said Dr. Eberhart-Phillips.  “The Act goes into effect July 1, 2010, and will help protect all Kansans from secondhand smoke by eliminating smoking in most public places. Reducing smoking indoors may also be additional motivation for many smokers to quit.”

When Kansans are ready to quit tobacco use, the Kansas Tobacco Quitline 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) will provide support and work with the caller to develop a plan to quit.  Counselors will provide information and guidance during one-on-one telephone sessions.  Kansans can call the Quitline anytime day or night to start the process.  Once enrolled in the free service, callers will work with one counselor who will set up sessions that fit the caller’s schedule.  During these sessions, callers will discuss the reasons they want to quit and find ways to handle any barriers. Studies have found that using a tobacco Quitline can more than double a person’s chances of successfully quitting tobacco.    

The Kansas Tobacco Use Prevention Program manages the Kansas Tobacco Quitline 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-748-8669) and provides resources and technical assistance to community coalitions for development, enhancement and evaluation of state and local tobacco prevention initiatives. For additional information on the Tobacco Use Prevention Program visit www.kdheks.gov/tobacco. Visit www.KSsmokefree.org for additional information on the Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act.