The Great American Smokeout (GASO), recognized on November 19, is a national day dedicated to bring individuals together to start their journey
s toward a smoke-free lifestyle. This year, GASO is even more significant in the Jefferson Parish community. As Jefferson Parish continues recovery and rebuilding efforts in the wake of an active hurricane season and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, we must remain mindful of the emotional toll these disasters have had and continue to have on our community. Too often we see individuals turn to unhealthy behaviors, like smoking/vaping and chewing tobacco as coping mechanisms to deal with stress.
Data from the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey revealed that 20.5 percent of Louisiana’s adult population smoke, compared to just 13.5 percent of all U.S. adults. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women (in LA). Smoking also causes cancers of the larynx (voice box), mouth, sinuses, pharynx (throat), esophagus (swallowing tube), and bladder. It has also been linked to the development of cancers of the pancreas, cervix, ovary (mucinous), colon/rectum, kidney, stomach, and some types of leukemia. Cigars and smoking pipes cause cancers, too.
All employers can protect their employees’ health and promote GASO by sharing resources from QuithWithUsLa.org with their employees and encourage healthy, tobacco-free workplaces. Quit With Us, La offers cessation coaching and nicotine replacement therapy. Individuals can enroll by calling 1-800-QuitNow or visiting QuithWithUsLa.org.
Hospitality and gaming industry employers can visit HealthierAirForAll.org for resources on how to create healthier tobacco-free workplaces for their employees, who may have experienced additional stress during this trying time.
For us to rebuild, re-open, and stay open we need to be more strategic and prioritize health more than ever before. The people of Jefferson Parish are resilient, and we can do anything. We can rebuild. We can protect our local businesses. We can even say “NO” to tobacco.
Join the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 19 and say “NO” to tobacco and “YES” to a healthier, more prosperous Jefferson Parish.
Read more about Great American Smokeout here.
Written by Matthew Broussard
Regional Manager, Region 1
Tobacco Free Living