Keystone State News Connection
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Nov. 18 begins the 35th Annual American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout, and experts say you can add up to eight years to your life by quitting. In Pennsylvania, more than 2 million adults ages 18 and over are smokers, and close to 12 percent of youth ages 12 to 17 say they smoke.
Kate Mastalski, director of preventive health and disparities with the American Cancer Society of the Greater Philadelphia Area, says smokers need look no farther than lung cancer rates in the state to find a good reason to quit.
“This year we expect about 10,000 Pennsylvanians to be diagnosed, and about 8,000 Pennsylvanians will pass away from this disease.”
Mastalski says Pennsylvania’s ban on smoking in most public areas and restaurants is helping to clear the air for residents.
“Just by simply taking it out of a few places where a lot of people eat who may not be smokers themselves, we are seeing a reduction in that.”
Mastalski says the ultimate battle on tobacco use starts with kids, and these days, smokeless products are becoming a bigger part of that equation.
“It goes back to us as a society, as parents, as teachers, really educating kids, having those conversations around what will these things do to you, and being able to say, ‘No.'”
The Cancer Society estimates smoking and smoking-related illnesses add up to $193 billion a year in health care costs and lost productivity nationwide.
More information about programs in Pennsylvania to stop smoking is available at www.cancer.org/Smokeout.