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Advocates to mark Thursday’s Great American Smokeout by calling on KY lawmakers to act

Cancer patients and survivors are marking the American Cancer Society’s 47th annual Great American Smokeout Thursday by calling on elected officials to protect the health of all Kentucky residents by investing $10 million in fact-based tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

“Nearly 70% of people who currently smoke cigarettes want to quit, and the Great American Smokeout® is about helping people reach that important goal. We know increasing funding for the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation programs to $10 million annually will help people quit and save lives,” said Michelle Zimmerman, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network associate director, regional media advocacy. “A well-funded, fact-based tobacco control program is needed to counteract the $267.1 million per year that tobacco companies are spending to market their deadly and addictive products in Kentucky. As Big Tobacco has been working hard to addict future generations with e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, the need for tobacco prevention program funding has never been greater.”

Tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Kentucky, and smoking is now linked to at least 12 cancers, including lung, liver, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers. A new ACS study found that in 2019, 37.8% of cancer deaths in Kentucky were due to smoking, the highest proportion of smoking-related cancer deaths in the country. Kentucky can and must do better, say ACS.

“This Great American Smokeout® we urge lawmakers to prioritize investments in tobacco control. In doing so, Kentucky will take a decisive step towards reducing tobacco use and its devastating toll on our communities while advancing our mission to end cancer as we know it for everyone,” said Zimmerman.

Free resources on quitting tobacco can be found at Quit Now Kentucky or through the American Cancer Society’s new cessation service, the Empowered to Quit program.

American Cancer Society Action Network

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