Did you know that Cleveland's smoking rate is more than double the national average?

The Great American Smokeout is a national awareness day sponsored by the American Cancer Society that started in the 1970s.  Every year, this event encourages smokers to quit and provides helpful resources for them, including quitting information and support.  Because of the support provided by the Great American Smokeout, many Americans choose the day of their community’s event to quit smoking and start their journey to a healthier future.

Through events such as the Great American Smokeout, the United States smoking rate has declined to 16.8%. While the national average is steadily decreasing, Cleveland’s smoking problem continues to grow.  Data shows that Cleveland’s adult smoking rates are currently around 36%, up from 31% in 2009.   Even more concerning is the youth rates of tobacco products in Cleveland. Youth data indicates that 6.5% of seventh and eighth grade Cleveland students have smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days (i.e. current use); current use of e-cigarettes and hookah is also rising, with rates of 10.8% and 9.6%, respectively.  Most concerning in seventh and eighth graders is the rate of current cigar and cigarillo use, which is at a staggering 17.8%.  In high school, current cigarette and cigar use is even more prominent, with 9.1% smoking cigarettes and 21.1% smoking cigars or cigarillos in 2015.  These rates may stem in part from the ease of obtaining these items.  Many high school smokers report buying tobacco directly from stores, despite being underage, or ask peers over the legal purchasing age to buy for them.

In order to combat Cleveland’s upsetting tobacco use rates, the Healthy Cleveland Initiative Breathe Free committee is working with partners such as Lake Erie Ink and Omni Media on a youth poster contest in recognition of the Great American Smokeout on November 17th 2016.

The winning three posters will be displayed in the triangular Omni Media kiosk at the intersection of Clark St. and W. 25th St as well as additional kiosks throughout the city the month following the event. Following the unveiling, there will be a reception and community resource fair in the basement conference room of the Hispanic Alliance Inc (located at  3110 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44109). Up to 50 ‘Quit Kits’ will be made available for current tobacco users wishing to take the challenge to quit for at least 24 hours. 

Keep a look out for the posters at the intersection of Clark and W. 25 after November 17th, and please help us work towards the Healthy People 2020 goal of reducing smoking rates to less than 12% by 2020.  If you or someone you know would like more information about quitting, visit the Healthy Cleveland ‘Ditch Tobacco’ page to get started now!

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