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Cancer Frontline

Summer 2014

The beginning of end tobacco

Tobacco use is one of the greatest public health menaces of our time, causing 30% of all cancer cases in the United States. This year, tobacco is expected to kill 480,000 Americans and 6 million people worldwide. In the next half-century, its use will result in 500 million deaths, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.

Photo: F. Carter Smith

Motivated in large part by the daily suffering of patients and their families, a cross-functional team led by Ernest Hawk, M.D., M.P.H., vice president and head of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, and Mark Moreno, vice president for governmental relations, has developed EndTobacco™. This comprehensive program recommends actions that MD Anderson will take to end tobacco use through policy, education and community-based clinical services. The program will begin within the walls of the institution, then expand to organizations and communities across the state, the nation and the world.

EndTobacco has three primary goals:

  • Reduce tobacco use by children, teenagers and adults.
  • Reduce nonsmokers’ exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Increase attempts by adult and teen smokers to quit, and increase tobacco cessation counseling.

“EndTobacco is one of several initiatives in the cancer prevention and control platform of the Moon Shots Program focused on preventing and reducing cancer through screening, early detection and survivorship,” Hawk says.

As part of the program, MD Anderson is adopting a tobacco-free hiring policy. Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, all MD Anderson job candidates offered a position will be screened for tobacco use during the recruitment process.

Those who test positive won’t be eligible for hire. They may, however, reapply after 180 days.

“If we want to make a serious impact on smoking and tobacco use, we must lead by example and create a healthy environment internally for our patients, visitors, faculty and staff,” Hawk says.

EndTobacco, which includes 110 tactical recommendations, is founded on best practices in tobacco control as established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

“For a long time, MD Anderson has worked to eliminate tobacco use at the local, state and national level,” Moreno says. “EndTobacco is a perfect opportunity to align our internal goals with our external efforts.”

Read about the latest progress in Making Cancer History® at Cancer Frontline.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center