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UCSF and SCLC Celebrate

Great American Smokeout

It is always a good time to help smokers quit, but this year, on the eve of the 2014 Great American Smokeout (GASO) on Thursday, November 20th, is especially propitious.   For those of us who care about helping smokers quit, it is a season of mixed results.  On the one hand, smoking rates are at an all-time modern low, and those who continue to smoke are smoking fewer cigarettes.  There is increasing recognition by clinicians caring for smokers with mental illness and substance use disorders that it is smoking that is most likely to kill their patients, and as a result there is a growing movement to take action regarding smoking cessation interventions. 

Yet, 43 million people continue to smoke, and the vast majority of those who try to quit don’t avail themselves of evidence-based treatments such as counseling by clinicians or through telephone quitlines and the seven FDA-approved smoking cessation medications.  In addition, there is the new phenomenon of electronic cigarettes that are unproven as regards safety or the impact on smoking, and present the potential menace of re-glamorizing smoking and thereby luring young people into the habit.  

Most of you receiving this message are stalwart soldiers in the fight against tobacco.  Now is the season to continue your efforts, as we prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Tobacco and Health, but also to recruit colleagues, advocate for tobacco control efforts in your locales and within your professions, and help to improve the health of the American people.

GASO will be observed nationally and we wanted to take this opportunity to invite smokers (including occasional smokers) to set a quit date.  We also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is supporting the Tobacco-Free at work policy at UCSF.

The UCSF tobacco-free at work policy:

  • Provides a healthful environment for everyone who works and visits the UCSF campus and medical center;
  • Demonstrates UCSF’s commitment to promoting health for patients;
  • Shows UCSF’s commitment to improve the health of the entire UCSF community;
  • Advances a culture of wellness at UCSF; and
  • Sets an example for other organizations and businesses to follow.

The Great American Smokeout is a great date to make a quit plan, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day and take an important step towards a healthier life—one that can lead to reducing cancer and cardiovascular risk.

UCSF has several programs to help you do that and is offering free nicotine gum as well.

Other initiatives, resources, and programs:

  • The Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative is encouraging all college campuses across the country to take a 1Day Stand against tobacco - in other words, to adopt a tobacco-free policy for one day. Hosting a 1Day Stand event on your campus is a great way to encourage quit attempts, raise awareness about tobacco issues, and begin/continue the conversation about tobacco policy. In fact, 83% of surveyed campuses who hosted a 1Day Stand on their campus last year reported that participating in the event helped to support long-term policy change. Also, click HERE for Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights' updated list of tobacco-free campuses.  

  • CDC/OSH feature article on GASO 2014, The Great American Smokeout: Your Quit Day. It is also available in Spanish (Español).
  • http://www.becomeanex.org/. The EX Plan is a free quit smoking program that helps you re-learn your life without cigarettes. Join the online community and connect with other people quitting tobacco.

  • Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking (MIQS) Project—Free Nicotine Patches and Gift Card Incentive for Medi-Cal Members Who Want to Quit Smoking Mailed Directly from the Smokers' Helpline
    Quitting smoking just got easier for Medi-Cal members!  For a limited time through December 2015, the Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking (MIQS) Project is offering additional incentives to eligible Medi-Cal members age 18 and older who want to quit smoking or using other tobacco.
    • These incentives include free nicotine patches and a $20 gift card bonus for members who call the California Smokers' Helpline at 1-800-NO BUTTS and enroll in Helpline counseling.
    • The nicotine patches and the gift card are mailed directly to the member's home.
    • To be eligible for the $20 gift card bonus when calling the Helpline, members must 1) Ask for the gift card; 2) Have a valid Medi-Cal Beneficiary Identification Card number; and 3) Complete the first counseling session. The gift card can be used for purchases at major retailers in California, including Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway/Vons and Ralphs/Kroger

Quitting is hard for many people, but you can increase your chances of success with help. To promote awareness about the health hazards of tobacco, the Fontana Tobacco Treatment Center, Living Well at UCSF, Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, and the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education are encouraging smokers to quit.

The campus community is invited to receive up-to-date cessation information, resources and giveaways, at UCSF’s Great American Smokeout event, from 9-10:00 a.m. and 12 -1:00 p.m. on Parnassus, Laurel Heights, Mission Bay and Mount Zion.

Regardless of if you use tobacco, e-cigarettes or not, everybody can do their part in the effort to maintain a tobacco free UCSF!

For more information around these efforts, please contact Suzanne Harris, RN, Fontana Tobacco Treatment Center, Suzanne.Harris@ucsf.edu, Karen Williams, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, Karen.Williams@ucsf.edu or Leeane Jensen at Leeane.Jensen@ucsf.edu.

Let's help create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.




Online Resources To Help Smokers Quit