On May 31, 2014 the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes World No Tobacco Day and the global devastation caused by tobacco use. Guam will participate through a proclamation signing during the 2nd annual I Am Every Women, Women’s Conference to be held at the Outrigger Resort and Spa on May 30, 2014.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide. The global tobacco epidemic kills nearly six million people each year, including 600,000 from secondhand smoke. If current trends continue, tobacco use will kill up to eight million people per year by 2030, of which more than 80 percent will live in low- and middle-income countries.
Every day in the United States, more than 1,200 people die due to smoking and, for each of those deaths, at least two adolescents or young adults become regular smokers. On Guam, one person dies everyday due to tobacco related illnesses. The 2012 Guam Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 1 in 4 adults on Guam smoke tobacco products. Furthermore, in 2011, the Youth Risk Surveillance system reported 1 in 5 youth smoke cigarettes.
The WHO encourages all tobacco users to quit tobacco use for at least 24 hours on World No Tobacco Day. For community members looking to quit, the Tobacco Free Guam Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW [1-800-784-8669] or www.quitnow.net/guam) offers free counseling, educational materials, and nicotine replacement medication such as the patches and gum. Group or one-to-one tobacco cessation counseling services are offered by the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Centers Prevention Branch. To schedule an appointment and speak to a local certified tobacco cessation counselor, call 477-8861.
For more information on the Tobacco Free Guam Quitline or the WHO’s World No Tobacco Day campaign, contact Christopher Surla, Health Educator, Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at 735-7334.