The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute is joining the fight to help Hoosiers “Kick the Addiction” to smoking tobacco.
While cigarette smoking rates have dropped, about 37.8 million Americans still smoke cigarettes and about half of all Americans who keep smoking will die as a result.
In Indiana, according to research recently published by the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, more than 12,500 people in the state die prematurely each year from tobacco use—the equivalent of more than two dozen Boeing 747 planes crashing with no survivors. The smoking rate in Indiana is among the top 10 highest smoking rates in the country. As of 2016, 21.1 percent of adults smoked. Smoking rates in Marion County are also much higher than the national average; of the counties that contain the country’s 30 largest cities, Marion County is tied for last place with the highest percentage of cigarette smokers, according to the report.
To help Hoosiers kick their addiction to cigarettes, the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute will leverage its statewide reach, made possible by its partnerships as a research institute supporting Indiana University, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame, to share scientific, evidence-based strategies to help people stop smoking.
In May 2018, the Indiana CTSI was awarded a 5-year, $33 million grant renewal from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to advance research that improves health statewide. As part of the renewal, the institute launched a new public-focused initiative to increase health research participation and understanding called “All IN for Health,” which invites Indiana residents to sign up to receive information about local health resources and opportunities to participate in health research. An important part of All IN for Health’s mission is to share resources that help Indiana residents stop smoking.
According to the American Cancer Society, research shows that smokers are most successful in their efforts to stop smoking when they have support, such as through telephone quit lines, local programs, health counselors and encouragement from friends and family.
Indiana residents can check out a curated list of smoking-related resources at: allin4health.info/resources/tobacco-free/.
Sarah Wiehe, MD, MPH, director of Community Health Partnerships at the Indiana CTSI, associate professor of pediatrics at IU School of Medicine and a pediatrician at Eskenazi Health, says high rates of smoking and secondhand smoke (smoke inhaled involuntarily from tobacco being smoked by others) is known to lead to premature death and poor health, such as infant mortality and lung cancer. The good news, she said, is that these health risks are preventable.
Wiehe said research shows that smoking rates are reduced when policies backed by scientific evidence—such as raising the price of tobacco and creating smoke-free buffer zones around buildings—are adopted by local governments, institutions and employers.
According to the Fairbanks Foundation report, which was created in collaboration with researchers at IUPUI, a $2 increase in the cigarette tax would prevent an estimated 58,100 youth from becoming adult smokers, encourage 70,100 adults to quit smoking, and prevent 36,300 future smoking-caused deaths in the current Indiana population. The $2 increase in the cigarette tax would also generate at least $78.9 million in health care cost savings in the first five years, due to fewer smoking-caused cases of lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and pregnancy and birth complications.
Do you want to “Kick the Addiction” to smoking tobacco? Follow All IN for Health (@beALLIN4health) on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to connect to local resources and learn more about research to help stop smoking in Indiana.