Goshen News, Goshen, IN

March 29, 2014

LETTER'S FOR MARCH 30,2014: Let’s keep the momentum going

Goshen News

---- — Let’s keep the momentum going

The 2014 Surgeon General’s report released this past January tells us that tobacco use is causing even more deaths and diseases than we have previously thought. Tobacco use kills more than 9,700 Hoosiers every year and costs the state more than $2 billion in annual health care costs.

For every single tobacco-related death in Indiana, another 20 Hoosiers are living with a tobacco-related illness. For every smoker who dies, two young people under the age of 26 start using tobacco. At this rate, almost one out of every 10 kids in Indiana will become smokers and die prematurely. Indiana’s high smoking rate not only causes death, disease and higher health care costs, it is making it harder for companies to do business in Indiana because of higher direct medical costs and lost productivity.

The economic burden of smoking to a business is estimated to be about $3,391 per employee who smokes per year. Whether you smoke or not, every Hoosier household’s state and federal tax burden increases by $559 annually to pay for smoking-related health care costs. This new report calls on all of us to help make the next generation tobacco-free by supporting efforts to accelerate the nation’s progress. With CVS announcing that it will no longer sell any tobacco products, the Food and Drug Administration releasing “The Real Cost” prevention campaign targeting at-risk youth and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continuing its “Tips from Former Smokers” ads to motivate people to quit, I can see that momentum is building.

We must continue to focus on what we know works to reduce the tobacco burden in Indiana; that is, investing in tobacco control programs, higher prices on tobacco products and smoke-free air environments for all. The health of our community depends on it.

— Beckie Lies

Tobacco Control of Elkhart County