Ohio not helping its citizens kick the habit

Published 9:36 am Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ohio and West Virginia are spending less and less state money on efforts to help people quit smoking, and less on programs to prevent people from starting tobacco habits at all.

That’s of particular concern for our young people. Those who operate local cessation programs say a lack of funding from the states has meant fewer cessation efforts overall, but it’s also meant less time spent in local schools educating young people about the health dangers of starting to smoke and the dangers that come with using tobacco products. …

We have to stop young people from developing tobacco habits early. Preventing those habits from starting at all will save in the cost of healthcare and lives lost down the road.

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Smoking bans in place are an important part of an overall plan to improve the health of our communities, but it’s really at the individual level that the impact must be made. … The state needs to make it a priority to educate people on why they should avoid such costly, unhealthy habits.

According to Shelly Kiser, Director of advocacy for the American Lung Association of Ohio, the state of Ohio has collected more than $1 billion in tobacco revenues.

Surely the state could free up more of that money to get to the real heart of the matter — programs that will help more people stop smoking and better yet, never pick up a cigarette or smokeless tobacco product in the first place.

The Marietta Time