Tobacco kills thousands of Oklahomans every year. In an effort to change that, Gov. Kevin Stitt has declared Jan. 15–22, 2020 as Quit Week in Oklahoma. The proclamation kicks off OK to Quit, a campaign to raise awareness of the free resources available to help people quit smoking. Dozens of hospitals, businesses and organizations across the state are participating in the campaign.
“Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in Oklahoma,” said Meagan Carter, rural health improvement specialist at Oklahoma Hospital Association with the Hospitals Helping Patients Quit (HHPQ) program. “Tobacco kills more Oklahomans than AIDS, murder, suicide, alcohol, illegal drug use and auto accidents combined. Quitting tobacco isn’t easy, but it is possible. We want to make sure those who want to quit have all the right tools to be successful.”
More than one in five Oklahoma adults smoke cigarettes and 12.5% high school students have smoked in the last 30 days. There is also growing concern over the use of e-cigarettes, or vapes, which have been linked to more than 2,000 injuries and 47 deaths nationwide. Use of e-cigarettes among teens increased 78% in one year.
OK to Quit is a grassroots social media campaign. Through positive messages posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, tobacco users can not only get access to the resources they need to kick the habit, but they can also receive motivational support.
Free quit smoking resources can be found on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and at www.oktoquit.oid.ok.gov.
The OK to Quit task force is a collaboration of professionals at INTEGRIS, Mercy, Norman Regional Health System, Oklahoma Hospital Association, Oklahoma Insurance Department, Pfizer and SSM Health St. Anthony.