Smoking Cessation Trust: Say No To Cigarette Smoking On National Kick Butts Day, March 16

NEW ORLEANS – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each day in the United States, more than 3,800 youth aged 18 years or younger smoke their first cigarette, and an additional 2,100 youth and young adults become daily cigarette smokers. While overall smoking rates are down throughout the United States, the 2015 America’s Health Rankings® Report from the United Health Foundation recently ranked Louisiana 46 out of 50 states, due to a recent rise in its smoking rate from 23.5% to 24%. The national average is currently 18.1%.

         To counteract the numerous messages targeting young smokers, Kick Butts Day was started in 1996 as a day of activism to empower youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco. It is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and sponsored by the United Health Foundation. By hosting “kick butts” events around the country, including many here in Louisiana, they aim to explain the dangers of cigarettes to this young, potentially vulnerable, audience.

         “Studies have shown that children are three times more likely to smoke if their parents smoke,” says Mike Rogers, Chief Executive Officer of SCT Management Services. “While we encourage all young people not to start smoking, and that includes e-cigarettes, or quit cigarettes if they’ve started, we also ask that they share the ‘kick butts’ empowerment message with their parents, grandparents and other older adults in their lives. Sometimes, hearing the ‘stop smoking’ plea from their children or grandchildren is just the right combination of love and concern that some adults need to help break their addiction to cigarettes.”

         Through observances like Kick Butts Day and other annual smoking-related observances and events, and in addition to its work with Louisiana health care providers and hospital systems, the Trust continues to share its quit message with smokers around the state that quitting now is one of the best things they can do for their health.

         The Smoking Cessation Trust is the result of a court judgment in a 14-year-old class action lawsuit entitled Scott v. American Tobacco Company. The judgment became final in 2011 and 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 to benefit all Louisiana residents who smoked a cigarette before September 1, 1988.

         Applicants who register for the new smoking cessation program and are approved (usually in one day) as qualified recipients will be eligible to receive any of the following cessation services completely free: cessation medications (such as Zyban® and Chantix®), nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patch, lozenge, inhaler, nasal spray), individual/ group cessation counseling, telephone quit-line support, and/or intensive cessation support services. By using these services, evidence suggests that participants will increase the success rate of attempts to stop smoking cigarettes, and may successfully quit—for good.

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