EndTobacco begins at MD Anderson
More than 42% of adults in the United States were smokers back in 1964, when the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health definitively linked smoking to lung cancer and other pulmonary diseases.
Fifty years later, the smoking rate has fallen to 18% — 42 million people less than in 1964. Despite that significant reduction, far too many Americans continue to smoke¹. In addition to heart disease, stroke, lung diseases (including emphysema, bronchitis and chronic airway obstruction) and diabetes, smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in the body.
“The public seems to think we’ve won the battle against tobacco, but the 18% population usage has been difficult to improve in recent years,” says Ernest Hawk, M.D., vice president and head of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences.
Motivated in large part by the daily suffering of patients and their families² stemming from tobacco use, a cross-functional team led by Hawk, who is also co-leader of the Moon Shots Program’s cancer prevention and control platform, and Mark Moreno, vice president for Governmental Relations, developed the EndTobacco program.
This comprehensive program brings MD Anderson and other leaders in prevention and tobacco control together to more rapidly decrease tobacco-related cancers³ and help end tobacco use through policy, education and community-based clinical services. Aligned with principles of the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EndTobacco has already taken important steps. The program began within the walls of the institution and will expand to organizations and communities across the state, the nation and the world.
“We must play a more active, intentional and productive role in making tobacco history⁴, just as we strive to make cancer history,” says Hawk. “Nothing else we do could have a greater contribution to our mission at the population level.”
Major goals include:
REDUCE SMOKING AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE
Fact: nearly 16% of american high school students smoke. at the current rate, 5.6 million of those younger than 18 will die prematurely from a smoking-related illness.
- Collaborate with Comprehensive Cancer Centers, schools of public health, Bloomberg Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Cancer Society and others to expand similar efforts in other states
- Educate state and national legislators, employers and Fortune 100/500 companies on the EndTobacco initiative
- Lower youth exposure to marketing and promotion to tobacco products
- Raise the price of tobacco products
- Restrict sales of electronic cigarettes to young people
REDUCE EXPOSURE TO SECONDHAND SMOKE
Fact: cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the u.s., including an estimated 41,000 deaths resulting from exposure to secondhand smoke. almost 40% of kids between the ages of 4 and 17 are exposed to secondhand smoke.
- Strengthen MD Anderson’s tobacco-free campus policy
- Work with health and academic institutions in Texas and beyond to establish campus-wide tobacco-free policies
- Educate lawmakers and employers about the hazards of secondhand smoke
INCREASE COUNSELING AND SMOKING-CESSATION ATTEMPTS AMONG CURRENT SMOKERS
Fact: when quitting smoking, the younger, the better. but quitting is beneficial at all ages. on average, nonsmokers live 10 years longer than smokers.
- Increase cessation support to MD Anderson employees, the Board of Visitors, patients and their families
- Provide cessation expertise and support across all Texas health care institutions
- Galvanize health care institutions in providing cessation services to the general public, with an initial emphasis on special populations disproportionately affected by tobacco use
- Promote local tobacco-free workplaces until a statewide ban can be enacted. MD Anderson launched its own tobacco-free hiring policy in January.
- More than 16,000,000 people in the U.S. currently suffer from smoking-related illness.
- Tobacco use is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S., and 1 in 3 cancer deaths.
- Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., killing almost 160,000 people last year. It’s also the most preventable type of cancer.
- Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined.