Great American Smokeout: Smoking Cessation Trust Encourages Smokers To Quit Cigarettes For The Day, Life
NEW ORLEANS – In observance of this year’s Great American Smokeout on Thursday, Nov. 17, the Smoking Cessation Trust (SCT) is encouraging Louisianans to quit cigarettes forever by utilizing the free products and services it provides.
The Great American Smokeout was created in the 1970’s by the American Cancer Society to get people to quit cigarettes for a day and donate the dollars they would have spent on cigarettes to charity. The event has since grown to encourage people to use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and then quit smoking that day. It challenges people to stop using tobacco and helps people know about the many tools they can use to help them quit and stay quit.
The Smoking Cessation Trust, now in its fourth year, is the result of a court judgment in Scott v. American Tobacco Company, a 14-year-old class action lawsuit, became final. The judgment ordered certain tobacco companies to fund a statewide, 10-year smoking cessation program to benefit more than 200,000 Louisiana smokers who are members of the plaintiff class (the "Scott Class"). The recipient of the award was a court-established and court-supervised smoking cessation program, known as the Smoking Cessation Trust, which would benefit all Louisiana residents who smoked a cigarette before September 1, 1988. The program began registering eligible recipients in 2012 and, to date, has registered more than 60,000 Louisiana citizens who have committed to kicking the habit.
Louisiana currently ranks 46 out of 50 states for tobacco use, according to the most recent America’s Health Rankings® Report from the United Health Foundation, with nearly a quarter (24 percent) of the state’s residents smoking. Nicotine dependence is the most common form of chemical dependence in the United States. There are immediate benefits for those who stop smoking including return to heart rate and blood pressure normality, improved circulation, improved lung function, and improved smell and taste. Long-term benefits to non-smokers include reducing the chance of dying prematurely from smoking related diseases by 60 percent, a lower risk of stroke, and improvement in overall physical appearance.
“We encourage smokers to not only quit for the day, but to quit for life,” said Mike Rogers, Chief Executive Officer of SCT Management Services, the company that manages the SCT cessation program. “As we continue to partner with statewide health systems and providers, such as Ochsner Health System, Willis-Knighton in Shreveport, Imperial Health in Lake Charles, Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge, East Jeff General Hospital and West Jefferson Medical Center in New Orleans, and others across the state, we are able to provide our free smoking cessation products and services to a wider audience of potential ‘Scott Class’ members who are ready to quit.”
As smokers begin to realize that the benefits of quitting are not only physical, but financial (pack-a-day smokers in Louisiana can save over $2,000 dollars annually), they will be motivated to increase their rate of attempts to stop smoking and may successfully quit for good, organization reps said. (The CDC suggests it takes 8–11 attempts before quitting permanently.)
Smoking Cessation Trust encourages all Louisiana cigarette smokers to use the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, Nov. 17, as the day they decide to take that first step on the journey to quitting cigarettes forever.