Many things in this life can take your breath away, but tobacco should not be one of them.
To commemorate World No Tobacco Day on May 31, the Stop Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program (STOPP) — a new population health initiative held at Hartford Hospital in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the University of Connecticut — will hold educational outreach fairs that day at both the hospital cafeteria at 80 Seymour St. and the Brownstone Lobby at 79 Retreat Ave.
The fairs, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside the cafeteria and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Brownstone, will provide awareness to the community of the health consequences of tobacco use, the health benefits of quitting and the availability of a new cessation service for people who are ready to quit in the next month or willing to reduce with the goal of quitting in the next three months. On-site individual and group sessions are provided in English and Spanish by staff trained as tobacco treatment specialists.
“Nicotine is an addictive drug and quitting smoking isn’t easy. It takes time and a quit plan,” said Ricardo Rico, Tobacco Program coordinator in Hartford Hospital Ambulatory Care Services. “People don’t have to stop smoking in one day, just start with day one.”
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. Combustible tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals and chemical compounds that can cause long-term damage and mortality such as:
- Blood vessels, which can cause clotting, heart attacks and strokes.
- Lungs, causing chronic obstructive pulmonary lung disease.
“You do not have to be a heavy smoker or smoke for a long time to get a smoking-related disease,” Rico said.
The theme for the 2019 World No Tobacco Day, established by the World Health Organization, is “Choose Health Not Tobacco.”
“Nicotine addiction keeps people smoking, vaping or using smokeless tobacco products even when they want to quit,” Rico said, adding that he hopes people will choose to quit on World No Tobacco Day, or make a plan for their own quit day.