What do you think? Is the billboard of heart surgery below too much? Just right? I am very squeamish, so for me I can barely look at it without thinking about bringing my lunch back-up. On the other hand, I believe this is the being hit over the head with a 2×4 equivalent to get folks to realize some of the real life consequences of smoking. Every time I see someone smoking I want to run up and say, “do you really understand the scientifically proven–not personal opinion–consequences of what is coming down the road for you? It’s not pretty and I pray that you have enough health insurance, cash and loved ones around to be by your side since the ride is brutal.”
I understand personal choices, but I also believe in personal choice with information and education. I truly believe that if smokers understood the consequences and were told exactly what will most likely happen, they might have never lit up in the first place. If they are still smoking consciously after being educated, then I honestly understand that they are addicted and their addiction needs to be addressed and given the same respect as a drug or alcohol addition. Did you know that, per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, that “Among adults who smoke, 68 percent began smoking regularly at age 18 or younger, and 85 percent started when they were 21 or younger”. So, I can see the need to deter smoking in our youth the first place.
What really breaks my heart, is that our youth are beginning a habit that can grow into an addiction and then harm them later in life. This is problem! If the health issues were immediate, then we would see less smoking right? Being young invincible teens they most likely aren’t thinking to themselves, “hey, when I hit my 40′s I may have a heart attack since smoking is the number cause of heart attack, I had better not light up.” Seriously, what teen has ever thought that? Therefore, maybe these graphic billboards have a place in society?
The billboard is being displayed in Reno, NV as a result of a six week federally funded campaign focused on raising awareness of the health risks of smoking and to maybe inspire current smokers to consider quitting. Two local television stations decided not to run the ads until after 10pm feeling they were inappropriate. Our local newspaper, the Reno Gazette Journal, reported more about the television stations decision and how some locals are responding. On the Get Healthy Washoe website (I live in Washoe County), there is an upbeat “warning” that states: After 1 year you stop smoking, your risk of heart disease is cut in half! I like that kind of warning.
All in all, it is good to see our local health department committed to the health and well being of our community and trying different avenues to inspire no smoking.
Just in case you are inspired or know someone who smokes and is seeking to quit, here are some links that they might find helpful:
American Lung Association – Freedom From Smoking
Available online for free or at your local American Lung Association chapter as an eight week class: www.ffsonline.org
Smoke Free.gov: These folks offer a step-by- quit guide to, yes you guessed it: quit smoking!
Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Quit Smoking-They will guide you through the steps to quit smoking and you can find all sort of interesting and startling facts here too.
American Cancer Society; A guide to quit smoking-The “official sponsors of birthday’s” addresses questions such as, success rates, the mental and physical parts of addiction and more!
If you live in Nevada, I copied this directly from Get Healthy Washoe’s website….
Smoking Cessation Opportunities in Washoe County:
1-800-QUIT-NOW (Nevada Tobacco Users Helpline)
1-800-QUIT-NOW or 1-888-866-6642 Phones answered M-F 10 am – 9 pm, Sat. 10 pm – 2 pm. Provides confidential and individualized telephone based nicotine dependence treatment, in both English and Spanish. All services are free and some may also qualify for their medication assistance program. www.livingtobaccofree.com
American Lung Association – Freedom From Smoking
(775) 829-5864 Eight sessions, one hour per week, group format provides education, decision-making tools, cessation strategies, withdrawal coping behaviors, and relapse prevention choices to support and guide people through the process of replacing smoking habits with healthy actions. Call for pricing information. Also available online for free at www.ffsonline.org
American Lung Association – N-O-T (Not On Tobacco) – Smoking cessation for teens
(775) 829-5864 Ten session, one hour per week, group format with diverse education and support in tobacco cessation and reduction strategies, daily life management skills, and coping with stress and interpersonal pressures. Also provides booster sessions for ongoing support. This program is free of charge and is normally provided at a school site. American Lung Association in Northern Nevada
Relearn your life without cigarettes. This website is designed to walk you through quitting with helpful hints, developing a quit plan, and tools to be successful. There is no charge for this website and it is funded by non-profit public health groups.
Renown– Quit Tobacco Program
775-982-5073 Program meets once a week for four weeks. Provides a support group environment and individualized instruction for each participant. The program includes 2 Pulmonary Function tests, which measure lung capacity. The first test is performed at the start of the program and the second test is offered 6 months after the participant stops smoking. Class starts the first Tuesday of each month. There is a $250.00 charge for this program. Insurance may cover some or all of the cost. http://www.renown.org/homepage.cfm?id=1593
Saint Mary’s – Breathe Easy
775-770-7100 for registration or 775-770-6210 for more information. This program will help you recognize your tobacco triggers, create an individualized quit plan, and teach behavior modification/stress management techniques to prevent relapse. It is taught by a registered nurse whom is a Mayo Clinic-certified tobacco treatment specialist and Certified Health & Wellness Coach. The class consists of five, 90-minute classes and has had an ongoing support group for the past 5 plus years that meets throughout the year. Cost is $95.00 for the community; $25 for HealthFirst/Health Choice members, Saint Mary’s employees/volunteers. We offer telephonic coaching as well; call for cost.
Have a fabulous weekend-Caroline