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World No Tobacco Day is Thursday, May 31

SITKA, May 25, 2012 — Tobacco Industry Interference is the theme of this year’s World Health Organization (WHO) World No Tobacco Day on Thursday, May 31. The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Tobacco Program is encouraging people to join millions around the globe by avoiding tobacco use during the 24 hours of May 31.

World No Tobacco Day is intended to draw global attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use, and to its negative health effects. This year’s campaign will focus on the need to expose and counter the tobacco industry’s brazen and increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), despite the serious danger tobacco poses to public health.

“Many people in Southeast Alaska have shown their concern about the negative effects of tobacco use,” SEARHC Tobacco Health Educator Michael DeBell said. “The majority of Alaskans believe everyone has the right to breathe clean air.”

The SEARHC Tobacco Program will honor WHO World No Tobacco Day, and join other groups to honor the day, May 31:

  • In Sitka, the SEARHC Tobacco Program will host an informational booth about tobacco’s impact on health from
    11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sea Mart Quality Foods grocery store, as well as posting informational displays at SEARHC S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital and Sitka Community Hospital. The SEARHC Tobacco Program also will join with the Sitka School District’s “Kick It” Tobacco Program to host a free screening of the documentary “Addiction Incorporated” at 7 p.m. at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi. Free popcorn will be available, and there will be open discussion time after the show.
  • In Juneau, the SEARHC Tobacco Program will have informational displays in the lobbies of the SEARHC Ethel Lund Medical Center and the SEARHC Dental/Behavioral Health Building.
  • On Prince of Wales Island, the SEARHC Tobacco Program will host informational displays at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock, the Kasaan Health Center, and the Craig Library.

Alaskans can celebrate World No Tobacco Day by quitting tobacco. State of Alaska Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Manager Alexandria Modigh-Hicks said, “Alaska has made great strides in tobacco prevention, and thousands of lives have been saved. But there still is much work to do.” Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and Alaska, causing about 443,000 deaths nationwide and 546 deaths in Alaska each year. Tobacco causes more deaths annually than suicide, motor vehicle crashes, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, homicide and HIV/AIDS combined.

For information about the SEARHC Tobacco Quit Program and how you can receive free coaching, nicotine replacement therapy and other services, contact 1-866-966-8875 (toll-free in Alaska). For information about the Alaska Quit Line, contact 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or go to http://alaskaquitline.com/. To learn more about tobacco’s health impact on Alaska, go to http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dph/chronic/tobacco/Alaska_Tobacco_Facts.pdf. For more information about WHO World No-Tobacco Day, go to http://www.who.int/tobacco/en/.

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